sentencing

Sentencing guidelines and mandatory minimums have not done what was promised—they haven’t reduced crime and they haven’t eliminated racial disparities. What they have done is serve as fuel to the prison systems of this country and forced government at local, state, and federal levels to dole out millions in related costs. In an effort to […]

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As the most incarcerated nation in the world, many people have strong and even emotional opinions about crime and punishment in the United States. There is a sense of the “bad guys” being bad to the core and getting their due. Pardons issued by governors across the country, therefore, are sometimes greeted with serious controversy […]

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When you have a conviction on your record, it can have untold consequences for the rest of your life. In particular, a conviction can make it difficult to find a good job. Fortunately, there are programs out there specifically targeted at ex-offenders and that assist people in getting back into the workforce after a period […]

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When a judge goes to sentence a convicted person, they have a lot to take into consideration. One of these things is frequently the mental health of the offender. Researchers from the University of Utah set out to discover how exactly a mental health diagnosis and a complex biological explanation of such a diagnosis could […]

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President Barack Obama finally used his pardon power to commute the sentence of a federal inmate, the first such commutation he’s granted since taking office. This prisoner was a victim of the imbalanced crack-cocaine laws in place before the Fair Sentencing Act reduced the disparities between powdered cocaine and crack cocaine. About Connect with me […]

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The New York Times published an editorial calling on lawmakers in Washington D.C. to do away with all federal mandatory minimum prison sentences. The editorial cited this report from the U.S. Sentencing Commission, one which many negative things to say about the sentencing practice. About Connect with me on Google+More Posts (198)

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Defendants Who Make Pen Pals of Judges

by dave on September 26, 2011

in Criminal Justice

When you are facing significant criminal charges with nothing to lose, who would you write a letter to? Many defendants are using their time pending sentencing to write to the judge overseeing their case, all in an effort to beg leniency for their offenses. “Most defense attorneys, I think, would view this kind of correspondence, […]

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This week there are major changes afoot in Kentucky. Many misdemeanors will be handled with a citation rather than an arrest and some felony drug offenses will be reduced to misdemeanor classification. So, in this time that seems ripe for criminal justice reform, will other states follow Kentucky’s lead? About Connect with me on Google+More […]

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In what was called the Fair Sentencing Act, Congress reduced the glaring disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences. But they failed to make it retroactive to apply to those who where previously convicted, but not yet sentenced. Now, judges are being forced to sentence defendants under the old and horribly skewed law despite the […]

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Drug Courts have gone from an anomaly to a fairly commonplace alternative to the traditional criminal courts—often touted as giving offenders who would otherwise be sent to prison a chance at rehabilitation and a subsequent reduction in their risk of re-offending. But a new study from the Justice Policy Institute states that drug courts might not […]

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