Leading the Way
It certainly wasn't the best time for Horacio Gutierrez to take on more responsibility. The Microsoft deputy general counsel, who leads the intellectual property group, was up to his neck in work. At home, he and his three school-age children were coping with his wife's breast cancer diagnosis and treatment.
In a cramped cubicle in Chicago's Daley Center, home to the Cook County Courts, a 38-year-old woman on public assistance pulls out her rap sheet, detailing old arrests for prostitution, theft and misdemeanor drug possession. She wants the offenses expunged from the public record, hoping that will lift a barrier to finding a job so she can support her two school-age children.
Helen Kaminski, assistant general counsel at Sara Lee Corp., listens patiently but moves quickly through the paperwork for a waiver on the $60 fee for an expungement petition. She is buoyed by helping someone who seems to fit the criteria for expungement: The woman's last arrest was more than eight years ago, she has no convictions and she has passed the requisite waiting period after completion of court supervision.