Larry Moore’s Three-Decade Fight for Justice

Jun 14, 2014

Posted in CommunityEducation/Schools/YouthEqual Rights/EquityPolice-Public Safety

“This adversity has made a stronger individual out of me, and I continue fighting the fight,” Says Moore

Larry Moore

By Ashley Chambers

For 29 years, Larry Moore has been struggling to clear his record after a bureaucratic mistake attached another person’s criminal record to his name.

In that time, he has endured what some may view as insurmountable obstacles, but he is still fighting that battle to clear away the barriers stand in the way of him obtaining his teaching credential.

In 1976, Moore had to start fighting for his identity after he was mistakenly associated with another Larry Moore who had been convicted in San Francisco of robbery and burglary. Though he contacted the state Department of Justice repeatedly, It took the DOJ decades to recognize and correct their mistake.

As a result, over the decades-long process Moore faced many barriers with employment and housing discrimination and has had to scramble to provide for his family.

“Each day was a struggle,” he said. “It was a frustrating process, but because I was taught to endure and be resilient, the struggle just made me stronger. That’s why I am still fighting the same fight today that I have been fighting since May 12, 1976.”

With the help of criminal attorney Len W. Holt, Moore’s record was expunged in 2005, clearing his wrongful association with the 1976 crimes, but that was only the first step in the battle to clear his name.

“This error has caused [Moore] great aggravation and distress from the numerous employment opportunities he has lost,” according to a 2012 letter addressed to the state DOJ on Moore’s behalf.

One such opportunity was a job with Head Start. After receiving an official letter of employment, he was indefinitely blocked from working at any Head Start organization due to his “erroneous association” with the 1976 convictions.

He was determined to never give up. “You have to fight for your rights,” said Moore, who over the years has earned a bachelors, masters and doctorate degrees.

“Without having knowledge of what you can and cannot do, your rights will be trampled, and you will be disregarded as a human being,” he said.

Through the advocacy of the East Bay Law Clinic and his lawyer Akila Atkins, the DOJ has rectified its mistake in wrongly associating Moore with the incorrect criminal history. Head Start recently hired him to start working this fall.

However, this mistaken identity may still be haunting Moore. After taking classes to complete his teaching credential last summer, he is still waiting for his state fingerprint clearance, unable to receive his valid credential because of what are labeled as unresolved “issues.” This has affected his employment as an educator with the Oakland Unified School District.

Moore continues to remain optimistic and uses his own experience to show others how to exercise their rights in the criminal justice system.

“This adversity has made a stronger individual out of me, and I continue fighting the fight, not just for myself but for each person I come into contact with who has had his rights infringed upon,” he said.

If Moore ever doubts what his determination has been able to achieve, he can look at the letter he received from his attorney, dated Aug. 17, 2012: “I heard back from the DOJ and received a letter acknowledging that they made a mistake in erroneously associating you with this other man’s case.”

For more information, contact Larry Moore at (510) 228-5696.