Q: What was the recent Fifth Judicial District decision?

Last week the Fifth Judicial District struck down a Mississippi law that said, if you’re convicted of a felony, you don’t ever get to vote again. And the Fifth Judicial District said, no, not anymore. That’s cruel and unusual punishment. That violates the 8th Amendment of our Bill of Rights and our Constitution.

Q: Why is their decision important?

​Well, it’s important on a number of levels. First of all, on the individual level this makes individuals in Mississippi who have been convicted of a felony able to vote when they previously didn’t have any say in the election of the people who represent them.

On a more structural level, I think this is more and more of the United States reckoning with its past of trying to keep disenfranchised and folks of lower socioeconomic classes from having a say in their government. So I think it’s absolutely a step in the right direction.

Q: Why is voter disenfranchisement a problem?

We live by the mantra here at Krizman Law that we should never judge someone by their worst day. To that end, to take away someone’s ability to vote for the rest of their lives based on potentially a single act or a single decision is… I think this is exactly why the Fifth Judicial District said that it was cruel and unusual.

Not to mention the fact that most of the time folks who are pleading guilty to felonies or being convicted at trial aren’t necessarily thinking about. Oh, you know, what — how’s this gonna affect my ability to vote? Or how’s this going to affect my ability to have a say in the government going forward? It’s not only just cruel and unusual because it’s not necessary, it doesn’t fit the crime, but also we’re taking away somebody’s right to do something without that being considered when they’re making that decision. It’s certainly not in the plea paperwork when a client signs on that dotted line.

Q: What are Colorado’s laws regarding felons and voting?

Well, the good news is Colorado doesn’t have any actual restrictions on voting for felons. The restrictions hover around whether you’re incarcerated or not. So if you are convicted of a felony and you don’t go to prison, no impact on your voting rights. If you’re convicted of a felony, you go to prison and you get out, you’re able to vote again. So Colorado’s been on the right side of this for a while and I’m glad that we continue to lead the fight here — the national fight for criminal justice reform.

Q: What can Krizman Law do to help people facing felony convictions?

Well, first and foremost, the best way to avoid the collateral consequences of a felony conviction is to avoid a felony conviction. Here at Krizman Law, we do everything that we can for our clients to avoid a conviction. Whether that is convincing the prosecutors to obtain a dismissal or to dismiss the case, or to give us some sort of offer that avoids a conviction altogether, or whether that means taking the case to trial and winning, we are committed to making sure that felony does not become a permanent conviction on their record.

Krizman Law is known for its relentless pursuit of justice for clients. That means thoughtfully listening to the client's story, diligently investigating the circumstances and the law, and aggressively advocating for the client in front of prosecutors, judges, and juries. If you're looking for a lawyer to fight on your behalf, consider these other Krizman Law success stories or call us at 720-819-7317‬.

Need Legal Advice?

If you are in Colorado and have been charged with a crime, contact Krizman Law TODAY for a confidential review of your legal case.

VideosMississippi’s Lifetime Ban on Felons Voting Struck Down