Freshwater Cleveland | Legal clinic helps people expunge criminal pasts


On an overcast Saturday morning, when most attorneys his age are golfing, James Levin sits behind a metal desk in a basement office of the Famicos building on Ansel Road in Glenville, trying to unravel the convoluted legal history of a Cleveland man named Albert.

Just a couple weeks go, Albert held a decent job as a custodian at Progressive Field and before that worked at a McDonald’s on Broadway. Until his employers’ background searches turned up a bench warrant for violating his probation on a domestic violence charge. His boss at Progressive Field told him he could have his job back, if he clears the warrant.

Today, the wiry 44-year-old is anxious, intense, broke and desperate to solve his situation so that he can return to gainful employment. A counselor at the Fairfax workforce center told him about Levin, who runs the Famicos Foundation Legal Works clinic out of the former Notre Dame convent and school that Famicos converted to senior housing.

In chronicling his intricate journey, Albert reveals that since 1989, when he found himself serving ten years in Mansfield Correctional Facility, anger has led to most of his troubles. Most recently, he did another three years for assaulting his now ex-wife…

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