Clinic provides free legal aid to people looking to clear their criminal records

Posted on:

< < Back to

MARIETTA, Ohio (WOUB) — Brady Radabaugh would like to adopt a child and start a family. But he can’t. 

He has a criminal record that will show up in a background check. 

“I need to get everything off my record,” Radabaugh said. “Just to be able to adopt a kid. We’re trying to have a kid and it’s stopping me from being able to adopt.” 

Many people like Radabaugh don’t know that after some time, certain criminal records can be sealed or expunged by the courts. 

Legal Aid of Southeast and Central Ohio (LASCO) hosted a clinic at the Marietta Municipal Court on Friday that offers help to people hoping to gain a fresh start. 

For many, past criminal records interfere with future opportunities. The law prohibits Radabaugh and his partner from adopting with a criminal offense under his name. But enough time has gone by that he may now be eligible to have his record sealed or expunged. 

LASCO helps break down the barriers that people face when sealing or expunging records — for instance, the cost of legal fees and the complicated nature of the process. 

Ann Roche is an attorney with LASCO, who has been providing legal aid to clients at the clinic. 

“The first step in being able to use the law is to understand it, and unfortunately it can be complicated. So, we’re helping people understand their rights, and for free,” Roche said. 

She said a 2023 Ohio law expanded what offenses are eligible to be sealed or expunged.  

“A big change was allowing more felonies to be sealed,” Roche said. “No violent felonies. But it expands the amount of misdemeanors and the amount of felonies.” 

Sealing or expunging a criminal record can open doors to better housing, employment and other areas limited by past offenses.   

“Criminal records are often a barrier, so if in any occasion we can make that easier, we try to do that,” said Robin Bozian, a former Legal Aid attorney who has been working in the Marietta community since the ’80s. 

Bozian said she’s seen the way this service can change people’s lives, adding that “it adds to their stability.” 

Radabaugh couldn’t clear his record at the clinic because his income is above the threshold to qualify for free legal services. But he learned from attorneys there what steps he needs to take to do so himself.  

For more information on sealing or expunging a record, visit