“Third-Class Citizenship” for people with a “violent” record

Professor Michael M. O’Hear of Marquette University Law School has an important new article titled “Third-Class Citizenship: The Escalating Legal Consequences of Committing a ‘Violent’ Crime.”  This marks the first effort to systematically study the full legal consequences of a “violent” criminal charge or conviction, including the collateral consequences that uniquely apply to violent crimes.  O’Hear documents the growing network of these consequences, noting that recent criminal justice reforms tend to exclude people with “violent” as well as “sexual” offenses from relief available to other individuals with criminal records.

O’Hear canvasses the wide range and reach of legal definitions of what actually qualifies as a “violent” crime, concluding that many of these definitions “sweep in large numbers of offenses that lie outside core understandings of what constitutes violence.”  After this, the article provides a 50-state overview of the statutory consequences of a violent charge or conviction, and raises concerns about whether these consequences are proportional, provide fair notice, and promote public safety.

The abstract of the article, to be published in a forthcoming issue of Northwestern University Law School’s Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, follows:

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