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August 2015 Archives

The Law And The Morality Police

In some countries, the term "morality police" refers to people who are actually empowered under the law to enforce moral principles about decency, religion, sexuality and more. People can be punished for engaging in a wide range of behaviors, some not strictly covered under the law. Legal commentators in the U.S. are not kind to morality police in other countries, but we have our own form right here at home.

Punishment For Crimes To Come

It is a questionable, but long-standing, practice to increase the penalties a person faces based on previous criminal history. In the minds of many, a criminal act should carry a specific penalty based on the severity of the act. Most of the criminal sentences that draw the ire of the public are based on things like a three-strikes rule. Taking past conduct into account has led to life sentences for people convicted of relatively minor offenses. At least one jurisdiction is now considering an even more dubious factor in sentencing consideration: future conduct. Pennsylvania may soon empower judges to base criminal sentences on risk assessments of future criminal behavior.

Probation Abuses And Realities

A person accused of a crime should be highly motivated to avoid a conviction. When a chance to avoid a prison sentence arises, most people take that chance without a second thought. Unfortunately, the U.S. criminal justice system hides many traps for the unwary. The sentence of probation may be received with relief, but the day-to-day reality of the situation can be overwhelming. Before accepting any plea offer, including one of probation, it is important to understand what you are agreeing to. It may not be what it seems.

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Kohlmetz, Steen & Hanrahan, P.C.

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Portland, OR 97201
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