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The After The Trial blog presents insights on ongoing and recent trials around the state of Alabama, including weekly criminal law round-ups.

President-Elect Donald Trump, Criminal Justice Reform and Economic Growth

J.D. Lloyd - Monday, December 19, 2016

 

A blog I follow recently highlighted excerpts from an article on The Hill that called for President-Elect Donald Trump to reform the criminal justice system in an effort to foster economic growth.

 

The article cited a Department of Justice study that report that as of 2006, about 68 million Americans carried a major or minor criminal record. Another DOJ study reports that job applicants with a criminal record may be paid up to 50% less than those without criminal convictions. Additionally, many can only find employment in “off-the-book” jobs. The author of The Hill post, Eric Sterling, proposed the idea that if criminal records continued to affect the salaries and job opportunities of former inmates, the American economy is experiencing a loss of 1/3 of its consumers because of “under-earning”. Having a criminal record also affects one’s ability to be extended credit. According to Sterling, the housing marketing and car industry would be positively impacted by criminal justice reforms, with an increase of half a million homes and half a million cars sold annually. He also hypothesized that if criminal records for nonviolent crimes (i.e. adult marijuana use and growth) were to be eliminated, up to 600,000 Americans would have better job and purchasing prospects.

 

Sterling’s message to Trump appeals first to his campaign promises of economic growth and job preservation. Then, in his conclusion, Sterling asks Trump to consider a criminal record elimination like a bankruptcy, erasing convictions after five to seven years of “verifiable” good behavior. Sterling makes the final argument that, since bankruptcy is in the Constitution, this approach to criminal justice reform could revamp the lives of former convicts and significantly impact the American economy. As Trump is no stranger to bankruptcy in his business practices, hopefully the “bankruptcy” argument rings true and persuasive with his administration.

 

 

If you or someone you know has been convicted of wrongful criminal charges, there is hope after the trial. Contact us today by clicking HERE.


 


 

Is the Supreme Court going to reconsider the constitutionality of the death penalty?

J.D. Lloyd - Friday, January 15, 2016
A death-row Pennsylvania defendant has asked the United States Supreme Court to reconsider the constitutionality of the death penalty. Relying upon the Eighth Amendment’s ban on “cruel and unusual punishment,” Shonda Walter contends that the time has come for the Court to end the practice once and for all.
 
Ms. Walter makes two arguments in petition asking the Supreme Court for review. First, she argues our standards of decency have evolved to a point where the death penalty is no longer “constitutionally sustainable.” Her petition cites the declining frequency in which the death penalty is imposed, the declining number of states where the death penalty is actually carried out, and the growing international consensus against the death penalty.
 
Second, Ms. Walter argues the legal framework surrounding the imposition of the death penalty is broken. Specifically, she contends that since the death penalty was reinstated almost 40 years ago, our laws have failed to ensure a system that’s reliable, consistent, not-arbitrary and “equally just.”
 
We could hear very soon whether the Supreme Court is going to revisit whether it’s time to do away with the death penalty in the United States. It only takes four justices to agree to hear a case. Just last term, Justice Stephen Breyer argued in decision that the Court should consider the constitutionality once again.
 
For anyone interested in this battle, I'd highly encourage you to read Ms. Walter's petition by clicking HERE.
 

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