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Portland Criminal Law Blog

What are your rights as a felon looking for work?

If you have a felony conviction on your record, you know better than most just how difficult it is to find gainful employment post release. However, to get back on your feet and to support yourself and possibly your family, you need to find a decent and well-paying job. How can you do that if employers immediately concern themselves with your criminal history? Fortunately, Oregon's Ban the Box protects felons by disallowing employers from asking about applicants' criminal records on applications.

According to Oregon School Boards Association, Oregon lawmakers passed House Bill 3025 in 2015 in an effort to prevent employers from disqualifying applicants based on criminal convictions alone. The goal of the bill is twofold. On the one hand, the bill strives to ensure employers do not use a person's criminal history as a reason for not calling that person in for an interview. On the other, it hopes to increase access to jobs for applicants who have prior criminal convictions. Oregon is now one of 20 states that have Ban the Box laws.

Parental involvement can play a role in reducing underage DUI

When parents of teenagers begin to experience their child's desire to test the limits of what is allowed, they are often faced with the challenge of protecting their children without preventing them from learning some valuable lessons on their own. While parents in Oregon cannot control everything their children do, they can positively influence their choices by working hard to provide them with education about how individual choices have inevitable consequences. 

One curiousity, in particular, that seems to interest teenagers is alcohol and drugs. Parents can play a significant role in reducing their child's involvement in potentially dangerous and harmful activities by empowering them to seek other, more productive choices. Education begins at an early age when parents demonstrate through their own example, how to behave responsibly when drugs or alcohol are present. 

After successful appeal, man preparing for 3rd trial

When people in Oregon have been convicted of committing a crime, it is hoped that authorities put adequate time and analysis into drawing a conclusion. However, there are undoubtedly times when false witness reports, inadequate evidence and even shoddy investigative work can ultimately lead to the unfair conviction of an innocent person. 

In a case that has captured the attention of many, a man in New Jersey is preparing for what will be his third court trial since being convicted of a murder that allegedly took place in 1985. The now 68-year-old man has been placed on death row more than once after being named as the killer of a woman who was found beaten. Her body was discovered inside her apartment by someone who was later identified as a co-worker. 

Popular Netflix show raises awareness of wrongful convictions

Netflix recently released a new documentary following two crimes in Ada, Oklahoma that occurred in the early 1980’s. The documentary, The Innocent Man provides a well-researched account of a crime that was terribly mishandled by law enforcement and which later revealed corruption within the local justice department.

Details were shared through the lengthy documentary of information withheld from the defense team, failing to pursue possible suspects, and police reports missing vital information, such as dates and names. In fact, two men who were believed to be coerced into giving false confessions were sentenced and later exonerated when DNA evidence proved their innocence over ten years later.

The reason why refusing a breath test could hurt you

If you have decided to have a few drinks and then get behind the wheel, you are asking for trouble if you are pulled over. In a severe incident, your impairment could affect your ability to make important decisions while you are driving and you could end up in an unfortunate accident. At David J. Celuch, we have helped many people in Oregon to work through a DUI conviction. 

One of the first things that you may be asked to do after getting pulled over by authorities, is to take a breathalyzer test. This method of testing your sobriety judges your level of intoxication by giving a number based off of your blood alcohol content. While you could decline the invitation to take a breath test, doing so can create a much more complicated outcome for you. 

Can your employer view your arrest record?

Since you have been released from your time serving behind bars in Oregon, you have been working to rebuild your life and begin to provide for yourself independent of the support of others. One of the first steps you are taking is to find yourself a job that will provide you with opportunities to strengthen your skills, form relationships and make money. Working around your criminal record may seem daunting at first, but with the right strategies and your integrity, you do not have to let your past hold you back. 

If your criminal record comes up during the application process for a job, do your best to remain positive and upbeat. Answer questions honestly and with only as much detail as is needed to provide a satisfactory answer. You can use this as an opportunity to discuss what you learned about yourself, how you used your skills to better yourself during your time behind bars and how you have worked hard since your release to be a better person. 

Did you know that prisoners go through 5 stages of grief?

There are countless problems with the American prison system, first and foremost, too many people are imprisoned. For the over two million people incarcerated in the U.S., too many either didn’t commit the crime or they are serving more time than fits the crime.

One of the biggest tragedies of the failing prison system is how it tears families apart. If your loved one is imprisoned, you are in many ways their only link to the outside world. Their time spent with loved ones is so few and far between that they can spend weeks looking forward to the short visit. With your mind busy with post-conviction appeals and tending to your loved one’s affairs while they are incarcerated, here are a few tips to help you better connect during your time.

Racial bias and discrimination cause many wrongful convictions

A recent news article shared with the world the story of John Bunn, who was convicted as a 14-year-old for a robbery and murder he didn’t commit. For 27 years he carried that wrongful conviction before being exonerated in May 2018. According to the article, Bunn has now found success as an entrepreneur. He started a business that provides books and promotes literacy at Rikers Island Prison and in under-resourced communities.

African Americans, like Bunn, make up a disproportionate percentage of those who have been wrongfully convicted. While African Americans represent 13 percent of the United States population, they also represent 47 percent of known exonerations, according to The National Registry of Exonerations.

Oregon becomes the only state with split jury verdicts

This fall, Oregon became the only state that allows non-unanimous guilty verdicts. Louisiana passed Amendment 2 on November 6th. The amendment requires unanimous jury decisions for guilty verdicts. Louisiana had been the only other state in the country to allow split jury verdicts.

The decision drew major support and will take effect on January 1, 2019. So what makes a non-unanimous jury system controversial?

Oregon's child endangerment laws

According to Responsibility.org, 47 states and the District of Columbia have laws in place to discourage and penalize individuals who jeopardize the welfare of children under the age of 18. These laws aim to prevent adults from driving under the influence with young people in the vehicle. Oregon is one of these states. 42 states have laws that mandate enhanced penalties for DUI convictions that involve a child passenger. Again, Oregon is one of them.

Child endangerment laws, as lawmakers often refer to these laws as, recognize the gravity of an adult putting a child, or a person who is otherwise unable to protect him or herself, in harm's way by operating a vehicle while under the influence of a controlled substance. These laws dictate a punishment more severe than what standard DUI laws mandate.

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