Neighborhood Justice Center Incorporated

A nonprofit organization

Supporting NJC is Supporting Justice in Your Community

The Neighborhood Justice Center, Inc. (NJC) is a non-profit, community-based law office which provides comprehensive and high-quality criminal defense services to assist low-income persons, with specific concern for the BIPOC community, who often face unfair treatment in the community and in the criminal justice system. 

NJC was created in 1973 by concerned local judges, lawyers and members of the Black and American Indian communities of St. Paul who saw that too many poor and BIPOC individuals were appearing before the courts without representation or with inadequate legal help, resulting in unfair legal outcomes. NJC was created to fight this injustice, and for the last 49 years we have proudly been the community law firm of the East Metro of the Twin Cities. NJC focuses our services on cases in Ramsey, Washington and Dakota counties. 

By choosing to support NJC with your tax-deductible donation, you are promoting a higher quality justice system for the community by making sure no one is taken advantage of by the fast moving and often extraordinarily complicated criminal justice process in Minnesota. At NJC we offer three primary programs we believe improves the quality of justice in our community: 

(1) Legal Representation & Advice: Our legal representation program is our primary program where we assist clients accused of any level crime from misdemeanors to the highest level felonies by providing highly trained and talented attorneys to defend their rights in court. This program specifically seeks to serve communities of color and other populations who are often targeted by law enforcement and not always treated equally under the law. Many of the clients represented also face immigration consequences because defendants increasingly are refugees or immigrants with charges against them that could result in deportation proceedings. Staff look beyond the immediate legal problems to serve the whole person, helping to arrange such services as housing assistance, chemical dependency and/ or mental health treatment. Bilingual, bicultural community advocates and law clerks fill paralegal and research needs, serve as liaisons between clients and the court system, and help educate clients to avoid future problems. Due to generous donations and grants, most of our clients pay no fees at all, and those who do pay a reimbursement fee will not pay more than $275 for a felony case. This program also includes our serves the primary defense for all Ramsey County Treatment Courts (including Veteran's Court, Adult Substance Abuse Court, DWI Court, and Mental Health Court) and our free legal advice services, where we answer legal questions for hundreds of community members annually. 

(2) Community Outreach and Education: This program focus on serving low income persons, juveniles, refugees and immigrants from various cultures, and also seeks to educate the broader community about the realities and needs of people like our clients. This program’s goal is to educate the community about the law by clarifying what constitutes illegal behavior, how to avoid criminal behavior, and how to effectively and safely interact with law enforcement, while still retaining your constitutional rights. This program is intended to be flexible to meet the specific needs of the community. This program serves the community in a variety of ways from in-person community meetings, digital discussions over internet programs, online access to resources throughout website or any other format that can get people important legal information. 

(3) Expungements: We offer criminal expungement services to assist those who have crimes or arrests in their past and are now facing ongoing repercussions of this record. NJC believes that our criminal justice system relies on the fact that people can be rehabilitated, and those who have shown a commitment to change deserve to have their records expunged and an opportunity to move on from past mistakes. Expungements benefit both the individual and the community, because the community needs reformed people back in the work force and using their talents to the best of their ability. In turn, the individual can better provide for themselves and their family, thus bringing stability to their community. NJC provides full service expungement representation, from the initial consultation through all stages of litigation.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about NJC and the important work we do in the community. If you choose to support our organization, we promise to frugally use your donation to ensure the most good can be derived from every dollar. 



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Neighborhood Justice Center Incorporated

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