Students compile legal guide spelling out civil consequences of criminal pleas

Three area students are helping public defenders do their jobs in Pennsylvania. They’ve created a new resource–a quick guide showing the civil consequences of criminal convictions.

Rutgers-Camden law professor J.C. Lore said sometimes civil consequences have a bigger impact than actual criminal convictions.

“There’s all kinds of civil consequences that go along with criminal convictions,” Lore said. “But in the past, criminal attorneys haven’t had a resource that they could go look at to be able to advise their clients that, ‘OK, if you plead to this, this is how it’s going to impact the rest of your life.'”

So, Lore said, this document is a big deal to make sure public defenders give clients accurate information.

“It enables them to give advice to their client that they probably previously weren’t able to do,” he said. “Somebody who’s convicted of a certain crime might not be able to get a license to drive a cab or won’t be able to get a license to cut hair or to be able to carry a firearm.”

Student Kevin Holleran said it should be a help for lawyers pressed for time.

“The fact that we actually were able to index this via crime hopefully will make it much easier for them to just look up,” Holleran said. “Say if their client is charged with aggravated assault, they can look at the table of contents and say, ‘OK, every consequence of aggravated assault is on page 37. And go to page 37 and, hopefully very quickly, be able to use their limited time in that regard.”

Holleran, who’s originally from Bucks County, teamed up with another Rutgers-Camden student and a Villanova University law student on the pro bono project.

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