Searchable on-line inventories of collateral consequences: How they operate and how they are maintained
There are currently only three on-line collections of collateral consequences, one national and two state-specific (Ohio and North Carolina). All three can be searched and sorted, and all three are regularly updated, making them indispensable practice tools for lawyers and essential guides for advocates and people with a criminal record. Each of these inventories is described below by the individuals who helped create them and now administer them. They explain how the inventories were created and how they are maintained, and how they operate to inform and assist people interested in understanding the legal and regulatory restrictions that affect people with a criminal record, as well as the lawyers and other advocates who assist them.
Note that the three inventories each deal differently with the problem of linking specific consequences with the crimes that trigger them. Ohio’s CIVICC inventory has the greatest granularity, allowing searches by specific provision of the state criminal code. North Carolina’s C-CAT inventory is somewhat less specific, linking specific collateral consequences with the “crime characteristics” that make the consequence applicable, including the type and degree of crime. The national inventory (NICCC) is less specific still, stating triggering offenses for each consequence in terms of broad categories of crimes (e.g., “any felony” or “crimes of moral turpitude”). This approach not only reflects the way most state laws imposing collateral consequences are drafted (Ohio consequences are a conspicuous exception), but it also has the advantage of allowing cross-jurisdictional comparisons and analysis.
The descriptions that follow confirm that a great deal of time and money, not to mention the commitment of dedicated and skilled professionals, goes into keeping the inventories current, given the passage of new laws every year. Thankfully, much legislating nowadays is in the direction of helping people avoid or mitigate these consequences, through judicial certificates and record-sealing mechanisms, rather than imposing further burdens and restrictions. (See the CCRC report on 2018 laws, and its recent interim survey of laws enacted already in 2019.)