Most of us -- that is, our readers across North Carolina and residents from across the country -- know that it is flatly unfair and unfortunate for one-time transgressors of the law who have duly paid their criminal penalty to be adversely adjudged by society permanently thereafter.
Put another way: Say that following your criminal conviction and time served for a drug-related conviction (or drunk driving, domestic assault, white collar crime, sex-based offense or any other transgression), you continue to suffer severe repercussions permanently following your scrupulous adherence with all sentencing exactions.
Isn't that like being sentenced twice, with the post-release consequences sometimes outweighing the conviction-related punishment meted out?
The downside related to that eternal judgment can obviously be detrimental in a fundamentally egregious way. Some individuals face permanent bias when they apply for a job. Others have a hard time when trying to secure an apartment, a loan, educational opportunities and other opportunities.
When it comes to the sheer number of individuals so affected, one media resource supplies a statistic that is truly troubling, if not outright dumbfounding: Reportedly, more than 30 percent of adult Americans across the country have criminal records and face such adverse scrutiny.
And that adversity exists regardless whether they were convicted of a crime or not.
That's right. Legions of Americans have permanent criminal records related to matters pursuant to which they were arrested yet never convicted of a criminal offense.
By what conceivable standard or measurement of equity should they be permanently scrutinized and penalized for such a sad state of affairs?
Given such a reality, it is imperative for any individual facing a criminal charge to secure knowledgeable and aggressive legal defense to fight back against the power of state and/or federal authorities seeking to obtain a criminal conviction.
Justice demands that.