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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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A New Day in the City of Brotherly Love

If you haven’t heard, the new district attorney of Philadelphia is a lifelong defense lawyer who used to sue the government for violating people’s civil rights. He even ran on a campaign against overcriminalization. It’s a pretty amazing thing. Now the city’s top prosecutor has put his money where his mouth was during the campaign. 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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New California Criminal Laws in 2018

We’ve already touched on four of them: Recreational pot. A ban-the-box law for employers. An overhauled sex-offender registry beginning in 2021. New rules for picking juries in civil and criminal cases. Here are five more this week, with five more to come next week. Lawyers can advise clients on cannabis. This is Assembly Bill 1159. It amended the 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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