Washtenaw United: Building Futures By Expunging The Past

Aug 26, 2019

(From L to R) Michael Kiehne and Johnny Epps
Credit Susan Smith / United Way of Washtenaw County

If you’ve been convicted of a crime, getting a job can be far more difficult.  That is particularly true for felons but even those with misdemeanors run into employment barriers.  That’s the idea behind an upcoming expungement fair in Washtenaw County.  In this week’s "Washtenaw United," attorney Michael Kiehne and Michigan Works! Washtenaw County Service Manager Johnny Epps discuss the societal benefits of helping the convicted fully reintegrate. 

WEMU has partnered with the United Way of Washtenaw County to explore the people, organizations, and institutions creating opportunity and equity in our area.  And, as part of this ongoing series, you’ll also hear from the people benefiting and growing from the investments being made in the areas of our community where there are gaps in available services.  It is a community voice.  It is 'Washtenaw United.'

About Johnny Epps

Johnny Epps is the Service Center Manager here in Washtenaw County for Michigan Works! Southeast.  Johnny is a native of Ypsilanti, MI, but after getting his Bachelor’s from Missouri State, he played professional basketball overseas.  Some countries that he played in were China, Taiwan, Uruguay, Argentina, Brazil, Macedonia, and the Dominican Republic.  After his playing days, he coached high school basketball both women’s and men’s at the varsity and junior varsity level.  He currently is the varsity baseball coach at Ypsilanti Community High.  After working for Washtenaw County Children's Services, he has been the Service Center Manager for the past 7 years, and he has a great connection with customers that comes to the Service Center and his co-workers.  “It is a privilege to work with great people and assisting others by giving them the resources or guidance to make their lives better.”

About Michael Kiehne

Michael Kiehne is a staff attorney with the Michigan Legal Help (MLH) Program.  He develops and manages web content for the following legal areas: housing, employment, education, public assistance, expungement, and driver's license restoration.  Michael directs computer programmers on the creation of tools used to screen website users for eligibility for various legal processes and provide completed forms if eligible.  He also has developed similar tools that are used by expungement clinic volunteers and advocates to help expedite the screening and form completion process.  Michael has also created training videos to help people interested in organizing expungement clinics learn more about the expungement statute, court process, and how to use the advocate tools.  He holds a JD from Wayne State University Law School, an MS from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a BA from New Mexico State University.

Washtenaw County Expungement Fair Flyer
Credit Michigan Works! Southeast / mwse.org
(From L to R) Michael Kiehne, David Fair, and Johnny Epps
Credit Susan Smith / United Way of Washtenaw County


Michigan Works! Southeast

Michigan Legal Help (MLH) Program

Michigan Works! Southeast 2019 Washtenaw County Expungement Fair

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— David Fair is the WEMU News Director and host of Morning Edition on WEMU.  You can contact David at 734.487.3363, on twitter @DavidFairWEMU, or email him at dfair@emich.edu