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Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Family Justice Clinic Aids in Shaping Nevada Senate Bill on Criminal Convictions

Students Nick Donath and Brittnie Watkins in the Family Justice Clinic (FJC) recently delivered testimony to the Nevada Senate Judiciary Committee in support of Senate Bill 395, which requires the systematic identification and study of collateral consequences of conviction in Nevada. Governor Brian Sandoval has signed the bill, which passed the legislature in June and will become law on Oct. 1, 2013.

The bill’s passage culminates a two-year effort by FJC students and faculty to pass groundbreaking legislation addressing collateral consequences of criminal convictions—consequences that are imposed as a result of a criminal conviction, but that are not part of the sentence. At the state level, these include restrictions on civic participation, and exclusion from housing and employment, as well as enforcement of debts accrued while incarcerated.

Donath and Watkins’ compelling accounts of people personally hindered by the aftereffects of a conviction and the larger detrimental impact on Nevada families contributed to the shaping of this important bill.

Passage of the bill makes Nevada only the second state in the nation to require the systematic identification of state-based collateral consequences.