Law Offices of Peter G. Aziz & Associates LLC
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criminal defense Archives

Community service sentencing can reinforce inequity

People in New Jersey often think of community service sentences as providing a win-win situation. People who are convicted of crimes, usually misdemeanors with fines attached, may be able to work through their sentence without harsh jail time or hefty fines they cannot afford. At the same time, society can benefit from their labor. However, a study released by the Labor Center and School of Law at UCLA indicates that community service sentencing does not avoid the overall inequities and problems with the criminal justice system. In particular, researchers say that people serving these sentences may suffer many of the same effects associated with heavy court debt.

How arrest rates are affecting younger generations

New Jersey residents may be interested in learning that about one quarter of arrests are for consuming alcohol or drugs without permission. Statistics show that 9% of arrests for men and 8% of arrests for women are connected to drugs while 11% of arrests for women and 16% of arrests for men are linked to underage drinking.

Civil rights groups worry about police access to personal data

Police officers and federal agents usually must obtain search warrants if they wish to search a New Jersey resident's home or automobile, and judges will only authorize searches when they are presented with sufficient probable cause. However, the confidential personal data that individuals share with technology companies is far easier for law enforcement to access. Most companies only ask for a subpoena before handing over this information, and police officers can obtain a subpoena without probable cause.

Age plays a role in overall crime rates

New Jersey residents might be interested to learn that Americans between the ages of 26 and 35 were 3.6 times more likely to have been taken into custody compared to those over the age of 66. This was according to a study called the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, which reviewed 35,000 individuals over a period of 50 years. Generally speaking, white men were less likely to be taken into custody than black men at a young age.

Racial disparities in misdemeanor sentencing

About 80 percent of the people arrested each year in New Jersey and around the country are charged with misdemeanors, according to figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The vast majority of these cases are resolved by plea agreements rather than trials. Unfortunately, this often leads to harsher treatment of African American defendants.

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