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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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When You Walk a Mile in Their Shoes

You may never serve on a jury, but suppose you did. How would you feel—how would any of us feel—if we voted to convict someone innocent? This person knows. In 2009, she voted to convict a 17-year-old boy for murder based on the testimony of one eyewitness. The witness and victim were friends, and they were Read More

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Judge Regrets Sentencing Teen to Life Without Parole

Speaking of harsh penalties, how’s 241 years in prison for a 16-year-old boy? Well, it happened to this boy twenty years ago. The judge who sentenced him told him he’d die in prison. She told him he wouldn’t even be eligible for parole until 2091, when no one he knew would be alive, anyway. One can Read More

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New California Criminal Laws: Part Deux

To conclude the series, here’s the fab five we promised last week. Kids age 15 or younger must talk to a lawyer before the police interrogate them. This is Senate Bill 395. It amended the Welfare and Institutions Code to require that kids consult a lawyer before they waive their Miranda rights. They can do the Read More

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California’s New Sex-Offender Registry

Big news out of California last week. Beginning in 2021, the state will replace its current sex-offender registry, which requires everyone to register for life, with a three-tiered system that distinguishes among low-risk, medium-risk, and high-risk offenders. People in the first tier will be able to petition to end their registration after ten years. You’re in this tier Read More

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Expunging Juvenile Records in California

If you spent time in juvie, and you don’t qualify to seal your records, you can still petition to expunge your case. If the court grants your petition, it will set aside the finding of guilt, dismiss the case, and release you from all penalties resulting from it. That’s what the statute says, anyway. In reality, an expungement doesn’t erase the past Read More

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Sealing Juvenile Records in California

In the case we wrote about last week, a California court held that it wasn’t cruel and unusual punishment to require a minor to register as a sex offender for life. The court noted, however, that a kid could be relieved of this requirement if he got his juvenile records sealed. So how do you 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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Judge Not, Lest We Be Judged

If you’re still not sold on the power of redemption, I may not be able to sway you. But consider this guy. He committed a carjacking at 16 and spent eight years in prison for it. Today, at 35, he has a wife, two bouncy sons, and now, a law degree from Yale. He just graduated last month. I Read More

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The Lowdown on California’s Proposition 57

Last week it was Proposition 64; this week, it’s Prop 57. Voters approved it by a wide margin, but what does it do? Two things for now. First, it amended the California Constitution to ensure parole eligibility for people who have been convicted of a nonviolent felony, once they have served the full term for their primary offense. In layman’s terms, Read More

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