In April of 1999, a young Black entrepreneur, Davon Malcom, got into an altercation with his girlfriend. She called the police department in Racine, Wisconsin.
Malcom, who owned a bar and two hand car-washing businesses, left the house.
As some police searched his residence, other officers pulled him over at gunpoint. He informed the officers that he legally owned a registered handgun, and it was currently at his bar.
The police told Malcom that they needed to do a “routine sweep” of the bar and retrieve the gun.
At the same time, other officers were still searching his home.
During the search of Malcom’s home, police found marijuana paraphernalia, but no drugs themselves. At the bar, police found some marijuana residue in the men’s bathroom. They found marijuana paraphanalia in the basement, where some of Malcom’s family members had been staying.
No drugs were ever found in Malcom’s home. He suspects the marijuana in the men’s bathroom belonged to a customer.
The only paraphernalia that was linked to Malcom was a partial fingerprint on a box containing paraphernalia.
A friend who had been staying at Malcom’s home signed an affidavit that the paraphernalia belonged to him, and not Malcom. But the friend left town soon after.
On April 9, 1999, the State filed a complaint charging Malcom with:
- maintaining a drug trafficking place at his residence as a place to manufacture or deliver drugs
- having a bar as a place to manufacture or deliver drugs.
A jury found Malcom guilty of maintaining his residence for purposes of drug trafficking and of maintaining his bar as a place resorted to by persons using controlled substances for purposes of using such substances
Malcom served 8 month in the county jail, although he was allowed to go to work during the day.
But there wasn’t much work left for him. The city had revoked his liquor license because he was a felon. His car washing businesses had not survived. He was fired from his part time security job the day he was convicted.
When he was fully released, he had a difficult time finding work. A prison and hospital both wanted to hire him, but couldn’t because he was a felon.
He finally began driving trucks, and continues to do so. But the 15 hour shifts have forced him to miss important events in his children’s lives.
Housing has remained problematic. Over the years, he was rejected from many apartments because of his record. A few months ago, he tried to buy a modular home but was denied.
An injustice was committed over 20 years ago when Malcom was convicted under questionable circumstances.
But the injustice has continued because he could not get his record expunged.
That’s why we picked Malcom as a winner in our contest geared towards promoting social justice.
We are donating $5000 in legal services to help get Malcom get his record sealed or expunged.
If your story sounds eerily similar to Malcom’s, check out some free advice we have about getting your record sealed or expunged.
And of course, reach out to us if you want an attorney’s help.
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