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Community service burdens poor defendants

Massachusetts readers might be interested to learn that court-ordered community service harms low-income defendants of color, according to a new study. The study, which is entitled "Work, Pay, or Go to Jail: Court-Ordered Community Service in Los Angeles," was published by the UCLA Labor Center and School of Law on Oct. 16.

Going back to work with an arrest or prison record

There’s a lot of talk about the improving job market in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States. However, there are some people in America who desperately want to work but struggle to get hired. These are people with arrest records or who have served time in jail or prison. Some of these people served time for minor infractions, while others committed serious crimes twenty years ago and have steered clear of trouble since.

Domestic violence and its financial impact

Domestic violence is perhaps no less common in Massachusetts than other states. There are instances where one partner accuses the other of domestic assault. However, there are far more instances when these allegations are true. This may make it difficult, though not impossible to prove the accused partner’s innocence, particularly if that partner is a man. Why is this?

When juveniles end up in adult court for crimes committed

Vandalism is widely considered the most common crime committed by juveniles in Massachusetts. According to FindLaw, vandalism occurs when someone unlawfully changes, defaces or destroys property. Graffiti, keying cars, slashing tires and breaking windows are just some of the many unlawful activities that fall under this heading. In these instances, unless the property destroyed is of priceless or historical value, people tend to agree that juvenile courts are best to try these cases.

Mobile phones are a gold mind for fraud

Whether the owners of the mobile phones are the perpetrators or the victims, smart phones are becoming more and more involved in crimes at alarming rates. Theft by fraud is one of the main ways smart phones become involved in criminal activities in Massachusetts. Forbes estimates that 65% of fraudulent transactions in America now take place via cell phones. Phishing is one of the main threats affecting mobile phone users at this time.

Former convicts deserve a fresh start

After serving jail or prison time in Massachusetts, there are often few opportunities for former convicts. All across America, their work opportunities are stifled by personal biases and 30,000 license restrictions. According to Forbes, these restrictions actually do more harm than good for the public.

Roadside drug tests are often inaccurate

A Florida deputy sheriff recently made national news for 80 arrests. However, rather than being celebrated for good work, it was because it was determined that many of the roadside drug tests employed by the deputy were inaccurate, which led to false arrest. It is unclear at this time whether the deputy's fault was ineptitude or faked results, but the fact is that many innocent victims ended up in jail for weeks and months because of false drug charges.

Reformers changing sentencing guidelines

The bipartisan First Step bill seeks to change the federal sentencing laws, but there are reports that District Attorneys are already on board at the state and local levels. According to a recent story in the New York Times, there is a wave DAs across the country from both Republican and Democratic backgrounds that are taking a restorative approach to prosecuting and sentencing. Examples of this new approach include:

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