Law Offices of Jess C. Bedore III - Certified Specialist in Criminal Law
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New bill would make critical changes to juvenile crime laws

One of the great barriers to living a decent life in this country is a criminal record. When you have a history of criminal activity, no matter how small and no matter how unjust your crime may seem, it will affect you for a long time -- and depending on the nature of the crime, it could follow you around forever.

This is why everything about the criminal justice system is so important. Criminal rights are vital; police misconduct is unacceptable; expungements and exonerations need to be considered more often; and thorough revisions to criminal laws that no longer help society are necessary. Two politicians are coming together in a bipartisan effort to pass a bill that would help people who have been accused of nonviolent or juvenile crimes.

The proposed law is called the Record Expungement Designed to Enhance Employment Act. It would lift a ban on providing food stamps to people charged with drug crimes, and it would make it easier for juveniles to expunge their criminal records, thus improving their prospects in the future. In addition, the law would incentivize 10 states to raise the age to age of juveniles that they try as adults.

Even if this law doesn't come to fruition, it is still sparking an important conversation. Juveniles shouldn't be ruined forever because they made one mistake during a time in their life when they are prone to mistakes. And, to the larger picture, this law raises the question about how we deal with adults who are charged with crimes.

Source: Wall Street Journal, "Sens. Cory Booker and Rand Paul Team Up On Nonviolent Offender Rules," Heather Haddon, July 8, 2014

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