About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

46 Hofstra L. Rev. 171 (2017-2018)
Informed Misdemeanor Sentencing

handle is hein.journals/hoflr46 and id is 179 raw text is: 


                                 Jenny Roberts*

                              I.   INTRODUCTION

      There is no such thing as a low-stakes misdemeanor. The deceptive
thing about misdemeanor sentencing is that the punishment the judge
actually imposes in court is not the main event, in the long run.' As
many people find out long after they exit the courthouse, a misdemeanor
conviction-indeed, even a dismissed misdemeanor charge-is a mark
that follows them into their work and home lives for decades, and
sometimes for the rest of their lives.' A misdemeanor conviction can
lead to the inability to continue working as a home health aide even after

      * Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Scholarship, and Co-Director, Criminal Justice
Clinic, American University, Washington College of Law. With many thanks to the participants in
the Criminal Justice Ethics Schmooze 2017, Clinical Law Review Writer's Workshop, and
CrimFest! 2017, in particular Randy Hertz, JD King, Noelle Lyle, Sunita Patel, Jessica Roth,
Meghan Ryan, Ron Wright, Ellen Yaroshefsky, and Theresa Zhen. Thanks as always to Mary
Holland and Juliet Stumpf, and to Eugene Mok and Alissa Kalinowski for excellent research
     1. Although the actual misdemeanor sentence imposed can be quite significant. In Maryland,
for example, assault in the second degree is a misdemeanor that encompasses the common law
crimes of intent to frighten, attempted battery, and battery and that carries a sentence of up to ten
years imprisonment. See MD. CODE ANN., CRIM. LAW §§ 3-201(b), -203(b) (LexisNexis 2017);
Pryor v. State, 6 A.3d 343, 357 (Md. Ct. Spec. App. 2010). Further, judges can do harm in
sentencing even on relatively minor offenses. Michael Peters, CJC No. 04-1044-CC (Tex. Comm'n
on Judicial Conduct May 4, 2006) (noting that a judge was disciplined for ordering a woman
convicted of animal abuse to thirty days in jail with three days of bread and water and a man
convicted of illegally dumping toxic torts to drink toxic sludge).
     2. Issa Kohler-Hausmann, Managerial Justice and Mass Misdemeanors, 66 STAN. L. REV.
611, 617-18 (2014) (Rather than rely on evidence of guilt in the individual case at hand,
misdemeanor courts sort defendants based largely upon records of prior encounters.); Devah Pager,
The Mark of a Criminal Record, in CRIME AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE 937, 960-62 (William T. Lyons,
Jr., ed., 2006); Gary Fields & John R. Emshwiller, As Arrest Records Rise, Americans
Find Consequences Can Last a Lifetime, WALL ST. J. (Aug. 18, 2014, 10:30 PM)
1408415402; Gary Fields & John R. Emshwiller, Fighting to Forget: Long After Arrests, Criminal
Records Live On, WALL ST. J. (Dec. 25, 2014, 10:30 PM), http://www.wsj.com/articles/fighting-to-
forget-long-after-arrests-records-live-on- 1419564612.

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing thousands of academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline.

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most