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The Color of Collateral Damage: The Mutilating Impact of Collateral Consequences on the Black Community and the Myth of Informed Consent

Trevor Shoels, Texas Tech University School of Law

(February 2021)
The Color of Collateral Damage article cover

This article examines the extent to which certain collateral consequences almost exclusively affect Black people, as the author compares such consequences to Jim Crow laws. Similar to Jim Crow laws, the author asserts, these collateral consequences almost exclusively prohibit individuals who are Black with a criminal record from public housing, welfare assistance, financial aid, the ability to vote, the ability to receive certain jobs and licenses, and more. 

This article discusses the constitutional implications surrounding the prejudicial imposition of collateral consequences and, as the author asserts, the blurred distinction made between collateral consequences and direct punishment. In doing so, the article proposes (1) Congress employ a legislative overhaul to remove prejudicial collateral consequences (2) Supreme Court change the standard of judicial review from the rational basis test to strict scrutiny and extend their holding in Padilla v. Kentucky to apply to all collateral consequences, and (3) Federal and State legislators enact legislation aimed at placing procedural safeguards—like a notice requirement—at the plea stage.

Resource Type
Journal Articles