Collateral Consequences of Criminal Convictions in American Courts: The View from the State Bench
Justice System Journal, Vol. 29, No. 2, pp. 145-165, 2008
21 Pages Posted: 27 Mar 2012
Date Written: March 8, 2012
Collateral consequences of criminal convictions are restrictions, penalties, and sanctions generally not included in penal codes or sentencing guidelines, but resulting from criminal convictions under U.S. state and federal law. Despite growing interest in these sanctions, we know very little about their presence in American courtroom practice. This article summarizes results of the first survey to query U.S. state-court judges as to what role collateral consequences play in criminal proceedings, and also about judges’ general understanding of the nature and efficacy of such sanctions. Our survey yielded some surprising and important results. While critics of collateral consequences often refer to these penalties as silent and invisible, in fact our judges told us that defense attorneys, prosecutors, defendants, and judges frequently discuss these policies in court. At the same time, our results serve as further evidence of serious ambiguities and variation in these laws’ purpose, character, and imposition.
Keywords: collateral consequences, collateral sanctions
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