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Fall 2008 Volume 2, Issue 1

Founder’s Corner
The Mesereau-EphriamVillaraigosa Free Legal Clinic was recently honored by Los Angeles County Supervisor Yvonne Braithwaite-Burke for providing quality legal services to the South Los Angeles community. A

Inside this Issue

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Founder’s Corner

Legal Notes

Featured Volunteer Upcoming Events Record Cleaning Program Call for Volunteers Photos

Our Supporters

Flyer for Print

Special Services

commendation was presented by Ron Fisher (2nd from left), Deputy to Supervisor Burke, during the morning worship service at Brookins Community A.M.E. Church. Accepting the award were (from left) Mrs. Rachel Murph, Legal Clinic CEO Rev. Dr. Frederick O. Murph, Legal Clinic Co-Founder Attorney Tom Mesereau, MEV Clinic Coordinator Sophia E. Harris, and Criminal Defense Attorney MaryEtta Marks. On October 18, 2008 at 11 a.m., the Legal clinic will hold a free forum on Employment issues in the Brookins Community Development Center, 1900 West 48th Street in Los Angeles. (Photo & Press Release by C.J. Fossett). Attorney Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr. has received numerous awards and commendations this year. He is a partner with the firm of Mesereau & Yu, LLP in Los Angeles. Mr. Mesereau specializes in criminal defense (state and federal court) and civil trials. Here

recently Mr. Mesereau was honored by the National Bar Association (NBA) by receiving the Sankofa Birds. According to NBA, receipt of these birds are a West African tradition representing the proverb "Always remember the past for therein lies the future." News Correspondent Barbara Walters named him one of the "10 Most Fascinating People", due to his victory in the Michael Jackson case and civil rights presence in the African-American community. Mr. Mesereau was previously named one of the "100 Most Influential Lawyers" in the State of California by the Los Angeles Daily Journal and was selected by his peers as one of "The Best Lawyers in America. “He has also been named "Criminal Defense Lawyer of the Year" by the Criminal Courts Bar Association of Los Angeles and the Century City Bar Association. Mr. Mesereau was recently named “100 Top Trial Lawyers” by the American Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA). Attorney (Judge) Mablean Ephriam is best known for her long-running appearance as Judge in the court room series of the “Divorce Court.” Ms. Ephriam has also appeared in two Tyler Perry movies as Judge Ephriam and “Celebrity Fit Club.” Ms. Ephriam is an attorney with Family Law specialty, Entertainer, Motivational Speaker and the founder of the Mablean Foundation which supports her annual Honoring Unsung Fathers (HUF) scholarship which ‘spotlights fathers who accept their role and responsibility and does it well’…and those fathers who ‘play a vital role in the

MEV Free Legal Clinic 1900 W. 48th Street Corner of w. 48th & Gramercy Los Angeles, CA 90062

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development of their child(ren) lives’. Ms. Ephriam continues to make her dream a reality by placing projects and programs in the community to reach the underprivileged. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is the 52nd Mayor of Los Angeles, CA and the Second Latino Mayor since Jose Aguilera was Mayor in 1872. Mayor Villaraigosa is a native of East Los Angeles who fervently builds bi-partisan coalitions. Mayor Villaraigosa entered his tenure as Mayor implementing action plans to improve Education, Gang Prevention, Public Safety, Public Transportation, Economic Development, just to name a few. Mayor Villaraigosa believes in ‘dream[ing] big and facing our most daunting challenges…and to unite Angelinos behind the idea that our similarities run deeper than our differences.’ Public Counsel is the public interest law office of the LA County and Beverly Hills Bar Associations and largest provider of pro bono legal services in the country, helped establish this legal clinic, jointly sponsors it and provides ongoing technical support, training and recruitment support to help sustain it. Black Women Lawyers AssociationLA (BWL), founded on the principals of education, charity and community-based initiatives jointly sponsors and provides support and attorneys to assist in the continuance of this free community clinic. Through the collaboration and synergies of Attorneys Mesereau, Ephriam, Mayor Villaraigosa, Dr. Murph, Public Counsel and BWL the MEV Free Legal Clinic was birthed into reality April 5, 2006. The free legal clinic provides information and referrals to residents of Southern California. The primary vision of the legal clinic is to provide high quality information and referral services to the residents of the City of Los

Angeles. There are no income restrictions or required appointments. MEV provides individual legal consultations with qualified attorneys for up to 20 minutes of free legal advice in all areas of criminal and civil law. In the past years, MEV has provided high quality legal information and referral services to over 8,000 low income residents of South Los Angeles. The clinic provides these prominent attorneys, as well as others, an opportunity to give back to the community at large. MEV also has partnered with Public Counsel of Los Angeles, the largest pro bono law service in the nation, to provide the clinic with legal professionals who have assisted with the success of MEV. One of the unique features of the MEV Free Legal Clinic, are the educational seminars it provides the residents of South Los Angeles, such as, Predatory Lending, Reverse Mortgages, Credit Restoration, Police litigation, Civil Rights, Elder issues, Wills & Trust, Probate, Juvenile issues, just to name a few. MEV is dedicated to both the immediate and long term needs of its diverse clientele and will continue to develop programs to meet these demands. MEV is always looking for relevant topics to host and welcome all attorney and student volunteers. Please visit our website for more information about the clinic and upcoming events.ω

Legal Notes
Expungement- is a type of lawsuit proceeding which seeks to seal or destroy a prior criminal conviction. Under CA Penal Code 1203.4 at any time after completion, or early termination of probation, a person shall be permitted to withdraw his or her original pleas and enter a plea of not guilty, provided he/she is not serving a sentence for any offense, on probation for another offense, or charged with the commission of any offense. The court shall set aside and dismiss the accusations. A dismissal pursuant to 1203.4 PC does not remove anything from a person’s criminal history record. It simply adds the notation “Conviction set aside and dismissed per 1203.4PC”. Certificate of Rehabilitation- request to restore one’s rights of citizenship after that were forfeited due to felony conviction. This is the process for those who are not eligible for expungement due to prior prison commitment. RAP Sheet- Record of Arrest and Prosecution which is your criminal history. Identity Theft- 1-social 2- Drivers license 3-medical 4-criminal/moral character 5-financial 6-ID cloning (they become you) 7-child ID theft 8-deceased 9-synthetic (piece together a new identity, parts of the identity is true) Chapter 7- used to free oneself completely of all debt or by terminating businesses. There are eligibility requirements. Chapter 13- a wage earner’s plan, it enable those with regular income to develop a repayment plan for debt. Continuing Trauma- ongoing or continuous trauma, carpal tunnel injury.ω


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Fall 2008


Featured Volunteer
Gary Easley

Gary Easley on Right with Pastor Whitehead of New Direction Church Mr. Gary Easley is a native of Los Angeles, CA. He is a gifted musician & professional drummer which he has been playing drums since the age of five. Gary fondly remembers his first drum set given to him by his surrogate uncle, the great Duke Ellington. Mr. Easley has preformed with the Pointer Sisters, LTD, The Steve Miller band, and gospel artist Frankie Williams just to name a few. Growing up in Los Angeles and performing professionally at such a young age exposed Mr. Easley to the fame, fortunate as well as the seedy side of life, such as drugs and alcohol. Upon reaching adulthood Gary put aside his musical talents and pursued the intrigue of the “ LA Streets” Part of his rites of passage to manhood, Gary became a reputed gang member with all the appendages of gang membership including gun warfare. It was not until Gary “caught” his last case along with being almost paralyzed by 5 gunshot wounds in his body which landed him in prison for 22 years that he began to reflect on what he had lost and realizing that doing the same thing the same way will keep giving him the same results. It was during his years in prison Gary rekindled his relationship with God and his family, Gary has one adult daughter, and vowed to himself that if and when he got out of prison he would do everything in his power to get other young men and boys out of the streets and out of the gangs. In prison Gary studied the law and became the proverbial “jail house lawyer” where he helped other inmates with their cases.

Little did Gary know this would be the path that would turn his life around because while aptly arguing his own appellate case, Gary caught the attention of a prosecuting attorney who inspired Gary to consider the field of law as a career choice. In 2004, Gary was paroled, and since that time has been busy putting into action his commitment to God and himself to help youth. In 2006, Gary started “Operation Save Tha Youth-Stop the Murder” which is a non-profit organization which mentor men to go into the community to facilitate drug and gang intervention with At-Risk youth. Gary’s motto to his mentees is to “Lead by Example” which Gary has done and continues to do himself. Gary is a fulltime Southwest College Paralegal student maintaining a 3.8 g.p.a., regular guest speaker for various Los Angeles county Recovery houses including being an active participant with “3801 Cocaine AnonymousRecovery House”, Outreach guest speaker in local schools from Middle school through College. Gary has returned to playing the drums but this time for the church. Gary is an active member of “New Direction Church” where is also is head of the worship team, head of the music department and facilitate the gang and drug intervention program. Gary advocates “Cleanup the Wreckage of your Past” throughout the greater Los Angeles community by encouraging ex-felons to utilize “Record Cleaning Program” offered at MEV Free Legal Clinic. Gary also finds time to do his paralegal externship with Family Law Attorney Joan Miller and Criminal Defense Attorney MaryEtta Marks. But most importantly, Gary is an active volunteer who is always present at the MEV Free Legal Clinic to provide outreach to ex-felons seeking assistance in the Record Cleaning Program and paralegal duties for the clinic.ω

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Upcoming Events
November 15th –Judge Michael Tynan LA Superior Drug Court v December 6th –California Dept. of Parole & Rehabilitation Panel discussion v December 6th –KJLH 102.3 FM Radio Station “L. A. Speaks Out” host Jacquie Stephens featuring MEV Clinic v December 13th –Mortgage & Real Estate Issues Attorney Reginald Mason v January 17th –MEV & South-West College Legal Empowerment v Expungement Workshops Do you have a criminal or civil issue on your record you forgot about? This is the place to obtain assistance in getting it removed.

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Fall 2008


Record Cleaning Program
“Hate That Record? Make it go away!” On Saturday June 21, 2008, MEV Free Legal clinic opened its doors to a record number of clients waiting to receive assistance in resolving their criminal record. The speaker was former Los Angeles County Public Defender Attorney M.C. Marks who spoke on the importance of knowing what is on ones “RAP” sheet (Record of Arrest &

appropriate court. According to Attorney Marks, the process is relatively simple and straightforward however it can be complex if the forms are not properly completed and supplemented by the required attachments such as letters & record of community service or commendations for review by the court. M.E.V. Free Legal Clinic is committed to providing the added feature of a full service Record Cleaning Program which will provide individuals the opportunity to remove certain criminal and civil infractions. Complex cases will be referred to attorneys who are willing to work directly with our program in order to provide the client with the full services of M.E.V. Record Cleaning After-care. To date MEV has counseled over 50 clients in the short time of opening commencing the Record Cleaning program and the response from clients have been one of relief and excitement about “clearing the wreckage of the past” as coined by featured volunteer, Gary Easley, who is no stranger to the tedious process in cleaning up his own record. Our Record Cleaning Program will help empower clients to create a future for themselves and their families by creating a competitive and an employable citizen who can contribute to community. their

to develop reentry initiatives and a $15 million mentoring program for community and faith-based organizations to deliver mentoring and transitional services for people returning from prison or jail. M.E.V. receives no funding for its services and is operated 100% by Volunteer Attorneys, Law & Paralegal Students.ω

Call for Volunteers
Volunteers are essential to the success and function of the clinic. We are always open for anyone interested in giving back to the community through volunteerism.

Attorney MaryEtta Marks discussing the Record Cleaning Process June 21, 2008.

Students: MEV Free Legal Clinic offers law students an opportunity to work alongside experienced lawyers and paralegals. Law students will receive hands on experience in the legal field and gain sensitivity to the needs of residents in South Los Angeles. Course credit may be arranged with law schools and colleges.

Prosecution aka criminal history) and the process of clearing your criminal record or sealing an arrest record. MEV offers assistance in securing and reviewing the RAP sheet. In collaboration with a Live Scan mobile fingerprinting service, the client pays a nominal fee to request a copy of their criminal record from the California Department of Justice (DOJ). Once the record is received, MEV Clinic attorneys under the direction of Attorney Marks review the record and discuss the options with the client. These options could range from Expungement to Certificate of Rehabilitation or Pardon. Once the best option is determined for the client all court forms including any waivers are completed by the MEV clinic volunteers for service and filing with the

M.E.V. Record Cleaning Program comes on the heals of the recently enacted The Second Chance Act of 2007 which was designed to reduce recidivism by assisting formerly incarcerated men and women to reenter into society as a productive citizen. This Act is still in its infancy; however, the law will authorize a number of reentry programs, including a $55 million grant program to state and local governments Attorneys and Paralegals: Volunteer attorneys and paralegals make it possible for the MEV Free Legal Clinic to fulfill its mission of equal access to justice. If you are interested in providing legal services contact us at


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Fall 2008


Clinic Photos

Ugandan Attorney Anita Tumwine(center) Attorney Tom Mesereau left & MEV Client on Right visiting MEV Clinic June 7, 2008

Clinic Co-Founder, Mentor & Speaker Attorney Thomas A. Mesereau, Jr. June 7th & seated Speaker Erica M. Zacharie; LA County Bar Association DRS

Clinic Volunteer & Guest Speaker Attorney F. Hussain “Immigration: Visa & Family Matters” September 13th

Guest Speaker Attorney Benjamin Ramm of BASTA, Inc. “Tenant’s Rights” August 16th

Leah Lee Assistant Clinic Coordinator

Speaker LA Superior Court Judge John P. Doyle “Mediation: Resolving Disputes” June 7th

Dr. Karenjot Bhangoo Randhawa Director of Mediation, Training & Education at Dispute Resolution Services Inc., Los Angeles County Bar Association

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Fall 2008


Our Supporters
Mason & Mason Law Firm Law Offices of M.C. Marks Law Offices of Ethel Bennett Mesereau and Yu Law Firm Law Offices of Eric Dubin Law Offices of Margo Bouchett Judge Mablean Ephriam Public Counsel Black Women Lawyers Association Los Angeles Brookins Community AME Church Law Offices of F. Hussain Law Offices of Ollie Manago Attorney David Hazelkorn Law Offices of Joan Miller Attorney Ibiere Seck Law Offices of Lorna Washington Dr. Delores Alleyne The Carnell Group Cornelius & Associates Manatt, Phelps & Phillips Law Firm Pepperdine School of Law University of West Los Angeles School of Law Southwest Paralegal School Law Offices of Thanyai Lindsey Attorney Sherri Cunningham Loyola School of Law N-Action Family Network Families to Amend Three Strikes Act Law Offices of Gary Olive Attorney Anaebere Ugochi Law Offices of Beverly Williams Law Offices of Renee Sanders Wesley Williams, Owner Workers Compensation Inc. Law Offices of Chike Amobi Sheryl Fears, Paralegal Yvonne Williams, Paralegal Professor Jerry Jackson, J.D. Professor Robert Barrett Judge John P. Doyle


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Mesereau-Ephriam-Villaraigosa M.E.V. Free Legal Clinic
Co-sponsored by Public Counsel and Black Women Lawyers Los Angeles

Offering Free Legal Services
Trust /Will /Probate Bankruptcy / Credit Family Law Employment / Worker’s Compensation Personal Injury Landlord-Tenant Criminal Law Real Estate And more…..

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No Appointment Necessary!!
2008 Clinic Dates Saturdays Only 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. May June July 3rd 17th 7th 21st 28th

1900 W. 48th Street Corner of 48th & Gramercy Los Angeles, CA 90062 (323) 296-0187

12th 26th

August 2nd 16th 30th

September 13th 27th

October 4th 18th

November 1

December 6th 13th


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