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Is There a Perfect Storm for Federal Sentencing Reform?

August 15th

WASHINGTON, DC — After decades of ever-increasing resort to mass incarceration in the United States, we seem to be reaching the end of the line. Driven in large part by economic necessity, state prison populations have, in the past three years, begun to decline slightly. The federal prison system, however, continues to grow, but now, […]

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Medical Marijuana Advocates Welcome AG Eric Holder’s Sentencing Reform

August 12th

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a speech today to the annual meeting of the American Bar Association in which he outlined a new sentencing and enforcement strategy as America enters the fifth decade of the so-called “War on Drugs.” Medical marijuana advocates are cautiously optimistic that the announcement will bring […]

Read Medical Marijuana Advocates Welcome AG Eric Holder’s Sentencing Reform in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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As Pressure Mounts, AG Eric Holder Acts on Sentencing Reform

August 12th

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — US Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday a comprehensive federal sentencing reform package with a strong emphasis on drug sentencing. He said he will direct US Attorneys that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders not tied to gangs or major trafficking organizations should not be charged in ways that trigger lengthy mandatory minimum […]

Read As Pressure Mounts, AG Eric Holder Acts on Sentencing Reform in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

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Attorney General Eric Holder Expected to Issue Major Drug Sentencing Changes Today

August 12th

WASHINGTON, DC — In a speech to the American Bar Association today Attorney General Eric Holder is expected to announce major federal sentencing changes, including dropping the use of mandatory minimum sentencing in certain drug cases, expediting the release of certain nonviolent elderly prisoners, leaving more offenses to state courts to deal with, and working […]

Read Attorney General Eric Holder Expected to Issue Major Drug Sentencing Changes Today in its entirety on The Daily Chronic.

Want to stay up to date on marijuana reform & cannabis news worldwide? Visit The Daily Chronic - The Voice of the Reform Generation, the most comprehensive coverage of the cannabis community!

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US Supreme Court: Juries Must Find Facts on Mandatory Minimum Sentences

June 20th

WASHINGTON, DC — The US Supreme Court Monday dealt a blow to mandatory minimum sentencing, ruling that any facts used to trigger a mandatory minimum sentence are “elements” of the crime and must be proven by a jury, not left to a judge. The 5-4 ruling came in Alleyne v. United States.

Until Monday’s ruling, judges had been able to find certain facts that would trigger mandatory minimum sentences, such as quantities of drugs involved in an offense, based on a “preponderance of evidence” in post-conviction sentencing hearings. Now, those facts will have to established by juries in the course of the trial using the higher standard of proof “beyond a reasonable doubt.”

The case is the latest in a line of cases that began with the groundbreaking 2000 Supreme Court decision in Apprendi v. New Jersey, which held that any fact that increases the range of punishments is an “element” of the crime and must be presented to a jury and proved beyond reasonable doubt.

Sentencing reform advocates were pleased by the ruling.

“Mandatory minimums for drug offenders will lessen, but it’s difficult to say to what . . . . . READ MORE

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