Project Reset is Allegheny County officials’ effort to give people a fresh start |

Project Reset is Allegheny County officials’ effort to give people a fresh start

Tom Davidson
Tom Davidson | Tribune-Review
Allegheny County Judge Elliot Howsie talks about Project Reset on Tuesday, Aug. 6, 2019, at the Allegheny County Courthouse.

Allegheny County officials are taking a statewide effort to give people who have been charged with or convicted of low-level nonviolent offenses a fresh start to another level.

Called “Project Reset,” the county’s program will help Allegheny County residents learn whether the crimes on their criminal records can be sealed under the state’s Clean Slate law that went into effect June 28. It also will provide guidance for those who are eligible to have their records expunged without having to pay the legal fees involved in doing so, officials said Tuesday.

The effort was headed by Allegheny County Judge Elliot Howsie, who formerly was public defender, and has the support of other county officials, including Executive Rich Fitzgerald, District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., Chief Public Defender Matthew Dugan and Court Records Director Michael McGeever.

Those who have been charged with crimes and found not guilty or had the charges withdrawn still faced the stigma of having those charges on their records, Howsie said.

The process to expunge records can be costly and complicated, he said.

People can take an online quiz to find out whether they’re eligible to have their records expunged.

Since the program’s July 1 inception, the Public Defender’s Office has filed 13 expungement motions, and they’re working to file six more, according to a county news release.

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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