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Why some criminals are sentenced to a year and a day

And what conscientious objectors had to do with it

Hello, Straight: I'd like you to find a legal reference to what I think/believe/have been told. When a person is sentenced in the U.S. to be in jail for more than one year, automatically that person loses his/her U.S. citizenship. I understand that is the reason for a sentence of a year and a day. I can find no reference for this, but during WWII, sentences of a year and a day were often given to conscientious objectors by some judges. Please confirm or deny the belief. — Bill Preis, San Diego

If every goon sentenced to more than a year in the stir could-be released with his gate money and a ticket to Lapland, the rest of us would sure have an easier time finding parking spaces. Common criminals do lose some rights temporarily, but citizenship isn’t one of them. Historically, the cliched sentence of a year and a day has been imposed in cases where a judge wanted to make sure a misdemeanor sentence would be served in state prison, not a county jail, the usual venue for misdemeanor time. True, a few WWII C.O.s lost citizenship, but not because of the length of their prison sentences. Judges then had more discretionary sentencing power than they do now. The federal Selective Training and Service Act was mainly enforced by the decisions of local draft boards and civilian courts.

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Hello, Straight: I'd like you to find a legal reference to what I think/believe/have been told. When a person is sentenced in the U.S. to be in jail for more than one year, automatically that person loses his/her U.S. citizenship. I understand that is the reason for a sentence of a year and a day. I can find no reference for this, but during WWII, sentences of a year and a day were often given to conscientious objectors by some judges. Please confirm or deny the belief. — Bill Preis, San Diego

If every goon sentenced to more than a year in the stir could-be released with his gate money and a ticket to Lapland, the rest of us would sure have an easier time finding parking spaces. Common criminals do lose some rights temporarily, but citizenship isn’t one of them. Historically, the cliched sentence of a year and a day has been imposed in cases where a judge wanted to make sure a misdemeanor sentence would be served in state prison, not a county jail, the usual venue for misdemeanor time. True, a few WWII C.O.s lost citizenship, but not because of the length of their prison sentences. Judges then had more discretionary sentencing power than they do now. The federal Selective Training and Service Act was mainly enforced by the decisions of local draft boards and civilian courts.

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