Advice to Help Move past a Criminal Charge and Return to a Normal Life
Interviewer: What have you seen people do once their case is over in order to get back on their feet and return to normal life as quickly as possible?
Jack O’Donnell: It is helpful if they get through probation and find steady employment. It is advisable to procure a stable living arrangement and avoid absolutely substances, because those are the things that cause people to get sucked back into the criminal justice system.
Can a Criminal Conviction Be Viewed If a Record Has Been Sealed or Expunged?
Interviewer: One of my concerns if I was in that situation, due to the job market, I realize that it may be difficult to find a job once I have something on my criminal record. Now if I get it expunged, and they do a background search on me, will it be viewable?
Jack O’Donnell: No, but I don’t know for sure but the FBI would probably always have a record of it.
Interviewer: So if I applied at a school district or a city job; would they be able to view my record?
Jack O’Donnell: No, it wouldn’t be accessible in a background check.
Criminal Defense Case History: Sexual Relations with a Minor
Interviewer: Could you tell us about one of your favorite victories in defending a criminal case, or possibly about an unexpected victory in a case?
Jack O’Donnell: I recently handled a case one that got national publicity. My client, a 19-year-old girl had sexual relations with two different 14-year-old boys; one of whom she was allegedly the babysitter of. That made national news. I was contacted by several notable personalities including Anderson Cooper and Dr. Phil.
In these circumstances the sentence includes a mandatory jail term and mandatory sex registration. I’ve managed the case so that she only pled guilty to misdemeanors instead of felonies. To her great benefit, there was no mandatory sex registration and no jail sentence; just probation.
I consider that victory a true homerun. This is because a conviction for sex with minors is not only jail time; you also end up on the sex offender registry. But I was able to prevent that.
Interviewer: What differentiates this case from other sex offender cases?
Jack O’Donnell: The fact that she was female was a differentiating factor. I had to fight the double standard. People are looking at this offense in the viewpoint that if a male was the offender, he goes to jail.
If a female is the offender, she doesn’t necessarily go to jail. Why the double standard? I had to work very hard to create explanations why not all females should be treated this way but this girl should be treated this way.