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Prosecutors Endorse Pell Grants for Prisoners

On Thursday, the nation’s largest organization for prosecutors endorsed an idea we touched on a few weeks ago. Let people in prison apply for federal grants toward higher education. Don’t cut them off completely. In the press release, the National District Attorney Association backs a federal bill that would restore eligibility for Pell grants to prisoners Read More

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Giving the Gift of Education

How’s this for an idea? Let’s reinstate Pell grants for people in prison. What are those? They are federal grants that help people pay for college who otherwise can’t. They require you to use the money for higher education and maintain satisfactory progress toward a degree. People in prison were eligible for them until 1994 but Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Part One

Let’s get to it. We’ve already covered the big new bail law, which won’t go into effect until October 1. Here are three new laws effective January 1, 2019. Drunk driving will catch you an ignition-interlock device on your car. This is Senate Bill 1046. It amends the Vehicle Code to require most anyone who’s convicted of Read More

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Why We Defend People

In 2009, I was a prosecutor in Orange County when I became a defendant in my own criminal case. I was falsely accused of domestic violence, and I was charged with two felony counts even though I was the one who called the police three times that night over my accuser’s behavior. It was surreal. Read More

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The Common Application Bans the Box

Do you have a kid in high school? Are you in high school yourself and plan to go to college? You may want to check this out. On August 7, the Common Application announced that it will no longer ask about an applicant’s criminal record, starting with the 2019-20 pool of applicants. The Common Application Read More

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Misdemeanors are the Meat and Potatoes

The meat and potatoes of the criminal justice system, that is. And you may think of them as small potatoes, but they’re not. They take up most of the space on the proverbial plate, and they’ve got bite. They take up the most space because they make up eighty percent of all criminal cases across Read More

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Medical Board Metes Out Discipline Based on a Police Report

If you’re a doctor or other licensed healthcare professional in California, remember. Your board or agency can discipline you for alleged conduct in a police report even if you’re never charged with or convicted of anything. Just this week, the California Court of Appeal ruled that the medical board could discipline a doctor based on a police Read More

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California’s New Law of Fair Shakes

Whether you’re an employer or an employee, take note. Earlier this month, California enacted the Fair Chance Act. This means that, beginning next year, many employers can no longer ask about or look into criminal convictions until they’ve decided a person is right for the job. That means they can’t ask about convictions anymore on a job application. Read More

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Lifetime Sex-Offender Registration for Kids

Do you think sex-offender registration is punishment? What if it’s for life? What if it’s for a 12-year-old boy? Last week, the California Court of Appeal ruled that it’s not punishment to call a kid a sex offender for life because of something he did when he was twelve years old. According to the court, the boy’s early years Read More

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The Restoration of Rights Project

Have you ever been arrested? Do you have a prior conviction? Do you wonder whether you can clean up your record and how that affects you, if at all? Start here. It’s called the Restoration of Rights Project, and it looks at the law in every state for restoring your rights and status after an Read More

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