Saturday, November 22, 2014

Immigration Reform and Other Collateral Consequences

You've likely heard about the President's new initiative on Immigration Reform, coined an act of prosecutorial discretion. The Fifth Circuit blog has compiled a list of resources that explain the new policies. It is possible that these new policies could affect a client or two. Go here to read more.
Also, the Tenth Circuit blog recently posted a blurb about the Collateral Consequences Resource Center. Go here to check it out. We could all use a reference for collateral consequences.
More on collateral consequences, and particularly sex offender registration. In this decision, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a preliminary injunction issued against the enforcement of California's latest sex offender registration requirements. The requirements focused on the Internet, and the Court held that the requirements likely violated the First Amendment. Hence the preliminary injunction.
The case is related to recent litigation on similar conditions of supervised release, although the Court made clear that the requirements at issue were aimed at individuals who had served the entirety of their prison sentences (including terms of supervision). Interestingly, the Court drew a parallel between supervised release and parole. Yet, in doing so, it sent inconsistent messages, at one point noting that defendants are paroled before the completion of their sentences (correct), and at another suggesting that parole is imposed in addition to imprisonment (incorrect). Putting aside this confusion, the discussion is one that challenges basic notions of a sentence in federal court. Think about this the next time you appear for sentencing: the sentence imposed is imprisonment plus supervised release. So, if you ask for 5 years' imprisonment and 2 years' supervised release, you are asking for a 7-year sentence. And this frame of mind is particularly important in light of the restrictive conditions imposed by district courts and essentially rubber-stamped by the Tenth Circuit.
One last point: the diverging opinions coming from the appellate courts on these types of issues begs review by the Supreme Court. So keep preserving these issues. Just in case.

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