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Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:55 PM

NYT: Administration Orders New Step to Curtail Stiff Drug Sentences

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/20/us/politics/administration-orders-new-step-to-curtail-stiff-drug-sentences.html?_r=0

WASHINGTON The Obama administration on Thursday expanded its effort to curtail severe penalties for low-level federal drug offenses, ordering prosecutors to refile charges against defendants in pending cases and strip out any references to specific quantities of illicit substances that would trigger mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

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"By reserving the most severe prison terms for serious, high-level, or violent drug traffickers or kingpins, we can better enhance public safety," Mr. Holder said. "We can increase our focus on proven strategies for deterrence and rehabilitation. And we can do so while making our expenditures smarter and more productive."

The policy applies to defendants who meet four criteria: their offense did not involve violence, the use of a weapon, or selling drugs to minors; they are not leaders of a criminal organization; they have no significant ties to large-scale gangs or drug trafficking organizations; and they have no significant criminal histories.

On Thursday, the Justice Department ordered prosecutors to apply that new policy retroactively to defendants who are already in the system but who have not yet been sentenced. It was not immediately clear how many pending federal drug cases would be affected.

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Reply NYT: Administration Orders New Step to Curtail Stiff Drug Sentences (Original post)
Shampoobra Sep 2013 OP
gopiscrap Sep 2013 #1
Shampoobra Sep 2013 #2

Response to Shampoobra (Original post)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 04:56 PM

1. good our sentencing laws are so discriminatory

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Response to gopiscrap (Reply #1)

Thu Sep 19, 2013, 05:44 PM

2. And even if they weren't...

...it's bad enough that we keep clogging the system with these minor offenses. If someone were growing vegetables where they shouldn't be growing them (on government land, or in violation of a local ordinance) they would face stiff fines. Why not fine people for growing or selling pot? I think it should be legal to grow or possess, but our criminal system could function much less inefficiently if fines replaced jail time in many of these cases.

Washington State is a good example. Since marijuana was legalized here, I've seen just one case of public pot smoking. I had anticipated seeing and smelling it everywhere, but that hasn't happened. There's a $100 fine for smoking it in public, and I think that's what keeps people from doing it, for the most part.

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