For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 40

Redefining Pardons:

On the Leading Edge of National Reform
Carl (Tobey) Oxholm III

Brenda was a victim of years of domestic violence and had a Protection From Abuse
order against her ex-boyfriend. When he showed up at her house one night, she
grabbed her handgun and went outside to confront her abuser. The police came and
they apprehended her ex, but they also charged her with reckless endangerment and
carrying a firearm without a license. In the 25 years since she was convicted, she's been
in no other trouble with the law. She feels called to go into nursing or social work,
especially now, but her criminal conviction permanently puts an end to that.1

C

OVID-19 has brought to the forefront many aspects of life that most of us had not previously thought
much about-like who are " essential workers, " and how increasingly at-risk humans are from
globally-spread viruses. The coronavirus has also focused attention on criminal history records. That
is because we need more health care workers, more childcare workers, more elder care workers-jobs that
are unattainable for those with criminal records.
Criminal records are also integral to another growing another concern: the conduct of the police, the
courts, and the fairness of our criminal justice system. Too many examples abound. In Philadelphia, the
fuse was lit in 2017 when a Common Pleas Judge sentenced internationally acclaimed rapper Meek Mill
to two-to-four years in prison for violating the terms of his probation. Here's how Philadelphia defense
lawyer Michael Coard wrote about it:
Following Meek's 2007 arrest, 63-year-old [Judge Genese] Brinkley convicted him in 2009
of seven drug and weapon-related charges, five of which, it must be made clear, were
mere misdemeanors. She gave him an 11 ½ - 23 month county jail sentence followed
by three years probation. But he allegedly violated probation in 2011, 2013, 2014, and
2015. However, they weren't for killing, robbing, shooting, or otherwise hurting anyone.
40

For The Defense l Vol. 5, Issue 4



For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4

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For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - Contents
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