For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 41

They were for technical purported violations involving motorcycle wheelies, drug use, a
petty altercation, and performances at concerts without Brinkley's permission. Although
what he did might have been wrong, it certainly did not warrant the draconian two-tofour year state prison sentence she imposed in 2017 for those mere technical supposed
violations. The idea of sending a nonviolent parole/probation violator to state prison for
two-to-four years with convicted murderers, rapists, armed robbers, and kidnappers is
mean-spirited, arbitrary, capricious, and conscience-shocking.2
Appeals followed and, in the summer of 2019, the Superior Court tossed the sentence, removed the
Judge, and ordered a rehearing. Mill was soon freed, entirely, thanks to a plea deal. Commenting on the
release, Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner said:
Today, Robert Williams (Meek Mill) pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor firearms violation
that he committed at the time of his arrest in Philadelphia more than a decade ago.
All other charges have been dropped. His negotiated sentence is No Further Penalty,
meaning there is no further sentence of incarceration and no further supervision (on
probation or parole).
Following a careful review by my office of Mr. Williams' decade-plus-long involvement
in the justice system, I know [this] to be true: Mr. Williams was unfairly treated in a case
that exemplifies the destruction caused by excessive supervision, instances of corruption,
and unfair processes in our criminal courts.... 3
Whoa! This isn't just innocent people sent to prison and helped by the Innocence Project. Meek Mill was
guilty. But our city's chief law enforcement officer zeroed in on the real issue when he told us there was no
fairness, no justice in his punishment.
For hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians who were once entangled in the criminal justice system,
there is similarly no escaping their past, the unfairness of criminal record history continuing to punish
those who have served their sentences and proven themselves deserving of a second chance.

The Long-Lasting Legacies of a Criminal Conviction
Ethan's experience with the criminal justice system resulted from having been prescribed
an opioid after he was injured in a motorcycle accident. When his prescription ran out,
he turned to the streets. The addiction led to crime, four convictions, and several years
in prison. Since his release in 2008, he has obtained his GED, an Associate Degree, and a
bachelor's degree. He has almost completed his work to earn a master's degree in Social
Work. His exemplary work in the recovery community has earned him press attention
and many accolades. Now supporting his wife and three young children, he needs a job
with an adequate salary and health benefits. Earlier this year, he was a finalist for a job
with the City of Philadelphia, only to be denied because of what he did 14 years ago.
Pennsylvania is among the three most heavily incarcerated states in the country, and the United States
is the most heavily incarcerated country in the world. In addition to those in prison, Pennsylvania has the
third-highest per capita rate of people under supervision (probation and control) in the country.4 Beyond
these are those who were convicted of a crime but not sentenced to prison or probation, and those who
have completed their sentences. They-hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians-have criminal records.
Simply put, there is no paying off your " debt to society " nor any release from the criminal justice system
when the judicially imposed sentence is completed. Criminal history records are available over the Internet
24/7/365 in just three clicks. The American Bar Association has reported that " nationwide, a past conviction
history raises well over 40,000 barriers to employment, education, housing, loan borrowing, professional
licensing, voting among numerous other post-punishment punishments. " 5 Once a criminal, always treated
as a criminal.
It is beyond question that criminal records are a major cause of poverty.6 This has broad implications for
social service programs, as the United Way has noted:

Vol. 5, Issue 4 l For The Defense

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For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4

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

Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 1
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 2
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - Contents
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 4
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 5
For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 6
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For the Defense - Vol. 5, Issue 4 - 52
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