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criminal defense Archives

Community service sentences promote inequity, study says

Many people in Minnesota see community service sentences as a humane alternative to hefty fines or jail time, especially for people living in poverty and convicted of relatively minor matters. However, one study contests the idea that these sentences improve people's lives. A report issued by UCLA's Labor Center and School of Law says that community service sentences for criminal convictions can also have serious negative impacts, especially on low-income communities and communities of color, much like other aspects of the criminal justice system.

Why felons may be treated unfairly

A Minnesota resident who is convicted of a felony could lose the right to vote. It may also be possible to lose the right to own a gun after being convicted of a felony. Some say that the best way to avoid this fate is to not commit a crime. However, there are many ways in which an individual could unknowingly break the law.

Facial recognition technology for shoplifters raises concerns

Many retailers in Minnesota and around the country are using facial recognition software to identify and ban people who have shoplifted from their stores in the past. However, privacy rights advocates fear the technology could be easily misused.

Age and the likelihood of arrest

People in Minnesota and the rest of the United States who are younger than 26 years of age have a higher chance of being arrested than people who belong to older generations. This is according to a study that was done by researchers from a nonprofit research corporation that conducts public policy investigations. The researchers also state that the rates of arrests for women and white Americans are growing the fastest.

Misdemeanor cases clog courts and burden poor defendants

Misdemeanor charges in Minnesota may not impose harsh penalties like felonies, but they still carry serious consequences for many people, such as imprisonment for up to one year and fines. A legal scholar and author who has researched the effects of misdemeanor convictions said that court fees, fines and short-term incarceration often lead to job loss as well as restrictions on housing, student loans, welfare benefits and professional licensing.

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