Second Chance Reentry Clinic Goes to Trial

2nd Chance Reentry Clinic students outside Cuyahoga County Juvenile Justice Center

On Tuesday, Feb. 20, the Second Chance Reentry Clinic went to trial in the Juvenile Division of the Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas. Student interns Nathan Bly and Michaella Guyot-Polverini (pictured) defended one of the clinic’s clients who had been accused of violating a court order regarding child visitation. 

Bly and Guyot-Polverini joined the case at the start of the spring semester and jumped right in investigating witnesses, reviewing evidence and preparing the client’s testimony. On the day of trial, the students were able to directly examine the clinic’s client, present evidence on their behalf and cross-examine the opposing party. At the conclusion of the day’s proceedings, the judge was quick to compliment them both on their performance. 

Through the Second Chance Reentry Clinic, which is funded by the Cuyahoga County Office of Reentry, students represent individuals facing barriers as a result of their criminal records. The clinic’s cases sit at the intersection of the civil and criminal legal systems and tackle issues related to mass incarceration, prisoner reentry and the collateral consequences of criminal convictions. 

Guyot-Polverini said she valued the experience of representing a client in a court room and seeing how a juvenile court operates. She stated, “We still have much to do on this case and I’m eager to get back in the courtroom to continue the trial and defend our client!” The trial will resume in April for further witness testimony and closing statements.