Essay about A Second Issue

Essay about A Second Issue

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A second issue is quite similar to this one, though in this case it is the judges, not the defendant, who could almost be considered “unaware” of the collateral consequences faced by the defendant. Ewald and Smith(2008) mailed a survey to one thousand judges, randomly selected out of the 2001 edition of BNA’s Directory of State and Federal Courts, Judges, and Clerks. These judges were judges in state trial courts, with general jurisdiction. These surveys had a net response rate of approximately 29%. The judges who responded to the survey came from Pennsylvania, California, Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Indiana, Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, Oregon, Tennessee, Wisconsin, Delaware, Hawaii, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia. They survey posed several practical question to the judges, with the main focus of the questions being on collateral consequences. Several pieces of data that were gained from these surveys especially stand out. The first is that most judges report that some party in the trial, or general criminal proceedings, be it the prosecutor, defense attorney, or defendant, bring up collateral consequences occasionally or more in their courtrooms. This unexpected data could perhaps even argue for the idea that collateral consequences are just, as it lends to the idea that more often than not, or at least more often than assumed, people who have been charged with a crime have some idea that these consequences come with being convicted. One could argue that because the defendant knows about these collateral consequences, but have not brought up an appeal as to whether or not they are just, they surely must be acceptable to have.
While at first the responses to the surve...


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...or several changes to collateral consequences, which can be summarized as “First, collateral consequences should be limited only to those specifically warranted by a given offense; second, information regarding such consequences should be made readily available; third, defendants should be fully informed, both before pleading and sentencing, of any and all relevant collateral consequences; fourth, such consequences should be considered as a factor in sentencing, with judges given discretion in their imposition; and fifth, there should be a judicial avenue for obtaining relief from such consequences.” (Ewald and Smith, 148). Unfortunately, little change has come out of the essay, but the first step towards change is to realize that there must be change, so perhaps in the near future more steps to change the unjust laws surrounding collateral consequences will be made.

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