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California Wants YOU for that Business or Professional License

Do you have a rap sheet? So do approximately one in three Americans, so you’re not alone. This summer, a new law went into effect that could help you earn that business or professional license you seek. We wrote about it in January 2019, but now that it’s effective, here’s more food for thought. It matters more Read More

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Do Not Put This Man Back In Prison

The man, Richard Midkiff, was 19 when he was sentenced to 38 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. After serving 23 of them, he was released in June of last year. He works full-time and then some, starting his days at 5am. He just got engaged last month. Now the state wants to Read More

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A Promise Is A Promise

Brilliant. In 2020, thirty-nine top prosecutors from across the country have promised to visit the jails and prisons in their jurisdiction and to require their line prosecutors to do the same. What’s more, they’ve pledged to make it part of the job description going forward. That’s thirty-nine district attorneys, county attorneys, or state attorneys from Read More

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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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A Feel-Good Story From Our Backyard

Earlier this month, a group of law students from the University of California, Irvine did something special: they won the release of an elderly inmate based on the law of compassionate release. That is not easy to do. Before a recent new law, it was nearly impossible, and even now, it’s exceedingly rare. But the man 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 Quatre

Here’s our fourth and final installment of notable new laws. Employers can’t ask about or investigate a conviction that’s been sealed or dismissed unless it’s specific to the job you applied for. This is Senate Bill 1412. Generally speaking, California employers can’t ask about or run checks for convictions that have been sealed, dismissed, or expunged. One Read More

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The Federal First Step Act of 2018

Here’s more meat on the bones of the new sentencing law from last week. Earning credit toward early release. You can earn 10-15 days of credit for every thirty that you participate in certain programs. These may include work programs, academic classes, vocational training, trauma counseling, substance-abuse treatment, faith-based services, and family-building and parenting. The credits Read More

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On the Friday Before Christmas …

When all through the House, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse: Congress enacted a major change to federal sentencing law. It’s called the First Step Act, and you may have heard about it. Here’s a press release on it from the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. What does it do? About ten things. 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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