About the RCP

With convictions dismissed, a person faces better prospects for employment, professional licensing, student loans, public housing, public benefits, foster parenting, visiting relatives in prison and other opportunities.

Students gain experience with the justice system and are motivated as they learn how their skills can directly help others.  Through hearing about their clients’ situations, students gain insight into the functioning of the criminal justice system.

As the Record Clearance Project expands, its work will generate research that will inform public policy.  Research will evaluate the effect that clearing a conviction has on individuals and opportunities.  It also will look at the effect that assisting a client has on students’ future employment.


Margaret (Peggy) Stevenson, JD, began teaching Courts and Society at San Jose State University in Fall 2007.  She developed the Record Clearance Project to give students hands-on experience with the law and the court system.  For 12 years before that, Stevenson taught Stanford and Santa Clara law students at community-based clinics, and was the Executive Director of two clinical programs.Prior to teaching, Stevenson was a legal services attorney for 10 years in California, New Jersey and Massachusetts.  She worked on a range of poverty law issues, including employment, housing, immigration, consumer, health and other matters.   She has written numerous training materials for students and legal rights materials for clients. Stevenson received her undergraduate degree from Stanford University and her JD from UCLA School of Law.  She clerked for a federal judge after graduating from law school.  She speaks and writes fluent Spanish.

Hal Peterson, JD,  holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from Washington State University and a law degree from Thomas M. Cooley Law School in Michigan. Hal practiced law for 15 years in Michigan and then Washington.

Danielle A. Harris, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of Justice Studies, teaches courses in contemporary problems in justice studies and criminology and justice evaluation and policy analysis.  She is an expert on sex offenders.


Volunteer attorneys assist the Record Clearance Project in two main ways: either by supervising student teams as they work with individual clients, or by accepting cases that the RCP has screened but cannot assist.


Assisted by supervising client cases and student teams

  • Shaun Naidu
  • Madeline Neighly
  • Amy Whelan

Assisted by accepting a referred case from the Record Clearance Project

  • Deanna Burneikis

If you are an attorney interested in volunteering for the Record Clearance Project, please contact Margaret Stevenson at margaret.stevenson@sjsu.edu.

Community groups in Santa Clara County can request a free presentation regarding expungement law and procedure at their site. Presentations are available in English and Spanish.

To request a presentation, please write sjsurcp@gmail.com.