Focus on Ethics & Civility, 1019 UTBJ, Vol. 32, No. 5. 38

AuthorKeith A. Call and Jacob Smith, J.
PositionVol. 32 5 Pg. 38

Focus on Ethics & Civility

No. Vol. 32 No. 5 Pg. 38

Utah Bar Journal

October, 2019

September, 2019

UTAH LAWYERS GIVE HOPE TO HUNDREDS OF UTAH'S WITH CRIMINAL RECORDS

Keith A. Call and Jacob Smith, J.

In An August 2017, Amy Daeshel hit rock bottom. Years before, she had a successful career in the mortgage industry. But foot surgery and prescription pain pills led to a heroin addiction. Heroin led to unemployment. Unemployment led to selling meth to feed her addiction. Homeless and hopeless, she found herself in the revolving door of arrest, jail, release, repeat. Six times. Then, in August 2017, something different happened. She was arrested again as part of Operation Rio Grande, a massive effort to root out crime in a Salt Lake neighborhood that had become known for drug dealing. As part of this arrest and $67 million in state funding, she was given the chance to participate in genuine drug treatment. See Katie McKellar, Want Your Records Expunged? Salt Lake County Has Hired an 'Expungement Navigator' to Help, Deseret News (June 25, 2019), available https:/Avww.deseretnews.com/article/900076882/salt-lake-county-utah-record-expungement-clean-slate.html.

Amy took the chance. She successfully completed the treatment and other requirements to graduate from drug court. She now works as a full-time peer recovery coach for Utah Support Advocates for Recovery Awareness and volunteers at other recovery programs. She has her sights on a college degree. See id.

"But something's still holding her back." Id. She still has drug-related misdemeanor charges on her criminal record, some four or five years old. She has found it "beyond frustrating" that her past criminal record prevents her from getting housing and employment. "I did everything the justice system told me to do. I graduated drug court. I paid all of my fines. I did everything that was expected of me to get this behind me and taken care of, but yet it still lingers," she said. "It's hard enough to pull your life around from that dark of an addiction.... I know what I had to go through. I completed everything successfully.... Now I want that stigma erased and just be able to move on with my life." Id.

Amy, and hundreds of people like her, have found that their past criminal records prevent them from moving forward with life. So many of them hit a wall when seeking employment, housing, education, and other life-stabilizing...

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