Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer recommends that every American listen to last night’s heroic speech by Attorney General Holder in which he outlines the failed brutality of harsh minimum mandatory sentences in America, a country that incarcerates one out of every twenty-eight of it’s children as well as two million of its adults.
|DOJ for Fair Sentencing?|
The truth is that minimum mandatory sentences especially in nonviolent drug cases are destroying far more lives than the underlying crimes being punished.
Federal Sentencing Guidelines have taken far too much discretion from fair minded federal judges and given that discretion to ambitious prosecutors out to make a name for themselves by scoring ever longer prison sentences in high profile drug cases.
Their boss, the Attorney General, states in his speech that the Federal Sentencing Commission and Congress need to rein these prosecutors in by working to reduce tragic outcomes by giving discretion back to federal judges. After noting that more than two million Americans are in prison he gave some hope for change:
The Attorney General also described the enduring problem of disparity of sentencing in his speech:
It took far too many years for the Sentencing Commission and Congress to finally change the disparity of sentencing in cocaine versus crack cases. Clearly the criminal justice system in America today is failing in its primary obligation to provide fair sentencing which as the Attorney General notes in his speech must also “promote public safety and deterrence.” We finally have an Attorney General, now free from political constraints from the President’s re-election bid, who can do what he knows is right, first by acknowledging the recent studies and reports against harsh sentencing and then by pushing the Justice Department to begin the hard work of creating fair sentences by giving federal judges more discretion in sentencing.
But why wait for Congress and the Sentencing Commission to change the Federal Sentencing Guidelines? Too often Federal Prosecutors are restrained by internal Justice Department rules and local Federal United States Attorneys who allow only one Defendant in a conspiracy to be granted a downward departure.
Why not allow greater use of downward sentencing by filing 5K co-operation motions more freely so that Judges will have the discretion to give fair sentences? Tampa Bay Defense Attorneys often find that Middle District of Florida prosecutors in Tampa deny federal judges the opportunity to go under minimum mandatory sentences by strategically failing to file an appropriate motion for downward departure even where there has been adequate co-operation just to keep the sentence high.