Bidish Sarma

Attorney. Formerly a Clinical Teaching Fellow at Berkeley Law’s Death Penalty Clinic. Formerly Deputy Director of the Capital Appeals Project in New Orleans.

The Criminalization of Homelessness: Explained

Most evenings, Aguirre Dick rides his bike about three miles from the streets of Waikiki in Honolulu to the slopes of a volcano, where he sleeps. If he doesn’t make that trek, he could be arrested. A 2014 law made it illegal to sit or lie down on the public sidewalks in Waikiki. As a result of this law, those without homes, like Aguirre, live in constant fear of being pushed into the criminal justice system simply because they are too poor to own or rent lodging. Liz Barney / The Guardian

Court holds that retroactive extension of sex offender registration is punitive

Last week, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court held that some applications of the state’s sex offender registration law violate the state constitution. The decision represents an important step toward increasing constitutional scrutiny of sweeping laws that make it nearly impossible for convicted sex offenders to reintegrate into society after serving time in prison.