THE OTHER EFFECTS OF PLEADING GUILTY
A hat trick of impossibilities: I recently attended an (1) informative and (2) entertaining CLE that
(3) pertained directly to my practice. (Most lawyers can attest that this rarely happens.)
Many local bar associations around the country have an organization called “The Inn of Court” which is a chartered affiliate of The American Inns of Court. The Mission of the American Inns of Court is “to foster excellence in professionalism, ethics, civility, and legal skills.”
As a member of the the Harry V. Booth-Judge Henry A. Politz American Inn of Court, I attend monthly lunch meetings where an hour-long presentation is usually given for Continuing Education Credit. The members of the Inn are divided into teams, and each team is responsible for preparing one of the CLEs throughout the year. This month, Shreveport criminal defense attorney Elton Richey and his Team 8 presented “The Collateral Consequences of a Guilty Plea.”
The presentation began with a 20-question quiz, then moved into a video skit of the team members portraying (with humor, of course) defendants and lawyers in a criminal case. In this hypothetical scenario, a vehicle was pulled over, the driver was suspected of being drunk, the car was searched, marijuana was found, a shotgun was found, and racy photographs of an underage girl were discovered in a defendant’s cell phone. One defendant was in the military, another was not a U.S. citizen, and one was a minor. Some had privately retained attorneys, and at least one had a court-appointed lawyer.
The video wrapped up by showing the defendants 10-15 years later, after the consequences of their teenage decisions and guilty pleas were fully brought to bear. The presentation concluded by revisiting the quiz, discussing the correct answers, and making most of the lawyers and judges in attendance feel inadequate to counsel clients faced with criminal charges. Suffice it to say that all in attendance, even experienced criminal defense attorneys, learned something new during the presentation.
Team 8’s CLE presented serious material in a humorous way, and brought to light real-life scenarios that clients face. In keeping with the theme of this blog, I am not too proud to admit that I scored a 70% on the quiz, missing 6 of the 20 questions.
Some of the more interesting things I learned during the presentation:
– A felon can obtain a hunting license, and hunt with a primitive weapon. However, they may not hunt with a firearm. (See also La. R.S. 14:95.1 and keep in mind part C, the applicable 10-year cleansing period)
– A misdemeanor carnal knowledge conviction does not require the convicted person to register as a sex offender. (La. R.S. 14:80.1) (See also La. R.S. 15:541 et seq for additional info)
– If a defendant receives a sentence pursuant to Article 894 of the Code of Criminal Procedure, his/her record will still reflect the conviction, although it may have “dismissed pursuant to 894” printed next to it.
– (I get this question all the time, and this is the answer that I tell my clients): If a person gets a conviction expunged, the conviction will still be visible to police and other regulatory agencies. So what’s the benefit? Most clients want an expungement to prevent potential employers from seeing the conviction, and most employers use a background checking company that might not be able to pull the records made available to law enforcement agencies. (Thus, the benefit to a client is that an expungement will likely prevent potential employers from finding out about the conviction.)
– An alien can be deported for a misdemeanor conviction (the government has discretion), but probably will not be. An alien will be deported for a felony conviction.
– A law student applying to take the bar exam must disclose juvenile convictions on his/her application.
– An employer cannot have a policy prohibiting the hiring of a convicted felon, as it would violate Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.
– The Nursing Board may deny one’s authorization to participate in clinical nursing education for a conviction – even a misdemeanor. La. R.S. 37:921.
– A school can deny admission or expel a student for the conviction of any felony, including a felony-equivalent juvenile adjudication. La. R.S.17:416.
– A person is ineligible to receive state-funded financial assistance (like TOPS) for any college, university, or postsecondary institution education if convicted of any felony or misdemeanor. La. R.S. 17:3048.1.
– Louisiana’s Constitution, Article I, Section 10, states a person is only ineligible to vote if convicted of a felony and under an order of imprisonment (not just “a convicted felon” as many people believe).
– If a person convicted of a drug offense possesses a license to practice a trade, occupation, or profession in this state, Louisiana’s Code of Criminal Procedure Article 892.2 requires the court to give notice of the conviction to the appropriate licensing authority.
And now you know, (thanks to the Harry V. Booth-Judge Henry A. Politz American Inn of Court Team 8).