First, a letter sent last week by 25 state attorneys general to House and Senate leadership, urging an expansion of Section 404 of the First Step Act to include people sentenced under 21 USC 841(b)(1)(C). By June 2014, 25 co-sponsoring Senators (17 Democrat, 6 Republican and 2 Independent) joined to show their support. Bills and resolutions are referred to committees which debate the bill before possibly sending it on to the whole chamber. We were a bit befuddled when Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced by press release on October 5, 2017, that he and Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Illinois) had reintroduced the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2017. It was not clear whether this was a complete retread of the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015, S. 502, that died without a vote last December, or whether it was new and improved (or just different). But efforts were severely hobbled last fall when Senate Majority Charles Schumer (D-NY), Sen Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Sen Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced their own version of weed reform, the Cannabis Administration and Opportunity Act (S.4591). The important but piecemeal work of criminal justice reform continued last week with two significant bills being introduced in the Senate. Youve cast your vote. April 12, 2021 The Hon. Only a few bills have been voted out of committee in the Senate the COVID-19 Safer Detention Act, the First Step Implementation Act of 2021, and the Prohibiting Punishment of Acquitted Conduct Act. The Act was passed by a vote of 13 to 5. We post news and comment on federal criminal justice issues, focused primarily on trial and post-conviction matters, legislative initiatives, and sentencing issues. If the Democrats fail to take advantage of the political opportunity in front of them, Forbes said last week, they risk ceding this issue to the Republicans if and when they take back control of Congress, possibly as soon as next year. Third, and perhaps most significantly, the Smarter Sentencing Act would lower the mandatory minimum sentences under 21 U.S.C. May 1, 2023 . The, Additionally, the bill corrects a weird anomaly in the, As for the two new bills, introduction hardly means approval. But the MORE Act that passed the House in the last Congress the one with criminal retroactivity received only five Republican votes. We must instead heedJustice Sonia Sotomayors messagethat, until we value the lives, rights, and liberties of those on the receiving end of the system, our justice system will continue to be anything but.. Still, EQUAL had a chance until Sen Tom Cotton (RAR) single-handedly stopped the Senate from considering the bill last Wednesday. Congress first enacted mandatory minimums for drug offensesin the early 20th century. Visit us on Mastodon To make matters worse, Garland chosenotto reinstate a 2013 Holder policy that both directed prosecutors to decline to charge a mandatory minimum in low-level, non-violent drug offenses and explicitly acknowledged that such sentences do not promote public safety, deterrence, and rehabilitation. After twenty years defending people charged with federal crimes, Ive learned that prosecutors are rarely agents of change. That should make sentencing changes that much harder, Politico said. Posted by: Elisia | Mar 26, 2021 5:35:17 PM. It would return to judges some of the vital discretion they need to provide more individualized sentencing and enable many people convicted of low-level offenses to return home to their families much sooner. 911 (2015) Colleen Shannon Follow this and additional works at: Part of the Criminal Law Commons, Criminal Procedure Commons, and the Law Enforcement and Corrections Commons FAMM has supported past versions of the Smarter Sentencing Act. Moreover, the current chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee is Senator Durbin and the current President campaigned on a platform that included an express promise to work for the passage of legislation to repeal mandatory minimums at the federal level. Over the last 12 months, politicians hsome steps to advance justice reform. Earlier Version The clocks running out. A letter from Bushman and his group to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) -- just one of several letters written by the Smarter Sentencing Act opponents that Bushman said are floating around Capitol Hill -- argues that federal policy should not be driven by "second-order effects of America's drug problem" like incarceration costs. FAX: 410-934-3208. It would not affect mandatory minimums in21 USC 841(b). Rabiah Burks, 202-822-6700 Visit us on Instagram, If sponsors had their way, the lyric in Youre a Grand Old Flag would change its description of America to a country where theres never Apr 27, 2023, March 29 was an unusually busy day in Congress for one Arizona Republican. (iii)by striking "mandatory term of life imprisonment without release" and inserting "term of imprisonment of not less than 25 years"; and, (B)in the flush text following clause (viii) cutting mandatory minimums in the drug trafficking laws. While Ohio State law professor Doug Berman is skeptical of their chances, he notes that prior iterations of [the Smarter Sentencing Act] got votes in Senate Judiciary Committee from the likes of Ted Cruz and Rand Paul. Third, the Smarter Sentencing Act would reduce the aforementioned mandatory minimum sentencing levels from 5-10-20 years to 2-5-10 years, unless death or serious bodily injury resulted, in. We are experienced, and know what it takes to present a successful defense in a federal criminal case. The chair of the Commission issued a statement on the same day saying that "This modest reduction in drug penalties is an important step toward reducing the problem of prison overcrowding at the federal level in a proportionate and fair manner," said Judge Patti B. Saris, chair of the commission. FAMM Mar 25, 2021 117 th Congress (2021-2023) Status Died in a previous Congress This bill was introduced on March 25, 2021, in a previous session of Congress, but it did not receive a vote. President Biden and his attorney general havedenounced mandatory minimums, as did former Attorney General Eric Holder. The current MORE Act has collected only one Republican co-sponsor. Most of the original text was lined through and new text was incorporated. While Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee(D-Texas) has introduced such a bill in a number of previous sessions of Congress since 2001, there is no such bill in the hopper now. He can and should instruct federal prosecutors to refrain from charging and seeking mandatory sentences, especially in drug cases, wherepopular opposition to mandatory minimumsis strongest. At the federal level alone, mandatory minimum penalties form the cornerstone of the human caging system. The Smarter Sentencing Act proposes similar adjustments: (b)(1)(A): The 15-year mandatory minimumfor a prior drug offense would drop to 10 years, and the 10-year mandatory minimumfloor would drop to 5 years. The Schumer bill has been released as a working draft but has yet to be formally introduced. For prompt, courteous and skilled representation as your federal criminal defense attorney, contact us today to schedule a free phone consultation. [4] Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015. TheFirst Step Actwas a critical move in the right direction, but there is much more work to be done to reform our criminal justice system. such person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which may not be less than 5 2 years and not more than 40 years and if death or serious bodily injuryresults from the use of such substance shall be not less than 20 years or more than life, a fine not to exceed the greater of that authorized in accordance with the provisions of title 18 or $5,000,000 if the defendant is an individual or $25,000,000 if the defendant is other than an individual, or both. The disparity has been diluted by Congress over the last decade the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act reformed the disparity to be 18 to 1 instead of 100 to 1, and the 2018 First Step Act made the . Were collecting the statements of stakeholder organizations. The central remaining sentencing reform in the Durbin-Lee legislation would reduce mandatory minimum penalties for certain nonviolent drug offenses. Only a few bills have been voted out of committee in the Senate the, TWO BILLS CUTTING MANDATORY MINIMUMS, PROPOSING RETROACTIVITY, INTRODUCED INSENATE, Mandatory minimum penalties have played a large role in the explosion of the U.S. prison population, often leading to sentences that are unfair, fiscally irresponsible, and a threat to public safety, Sen. Durbin said in a press release. It is common for legislative text to be introduced concurrently in multiple bills (called companion bills), re-introduced in is amended Mandatory minimums dehumanize people by in the words of Judge Stephanos Bibas acting as sledgehammers rather than scalpels, falling with equal force on people whose circumstances are dramatically different from one another and preventing judges from calibrating punishment to suit the person or the crime. The most comprehensive solution introduced in recent years was theMandatory Minimum Sentence Reform Act of 2017, which would have repealed all mandatory minimums for federal drug crimes. This activity took place on a related bill, S. 1410 (113th). The SSAwould turn the mandatory life sentence into a mandatory minimum of 25 years. It also provides a retroactivity provision for the court to impose a reduced sentence for those sentenced before this act gets signed after considering the 3553(a) factors (someone looking for retroactive application of this section would also have to prove that they are a courier). The bill would also apply these changes retroactively, giving people currently in prison an opportunity to receive a new sentence under the reformed law. A bill must be passed by both the House and Senate in identical form and then be signed by the President to become law. 920, the Smarter Sentencing Act",, "Kinder, gentler: Less time inside for less-serious crimes", "Too many Americans are incarcerated for too long",, United States proposed federal criminal legislation, Proposed legislation of the 113th United States Congress, Proposed legislation of the 114th United States Congress, Proposed legislation of the 115th United States Congress, Proposed legislation of the 116th United States Congress, Proposed legislation of the 117th United States Congress, All articles with bare URLs for citations, Articles with bare URLs for citations from March 2022, Articles with PDF format bare URLs for citations, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0. its mandate to formulate guidelines to minimize the likelihood that the federal prison population will exceed federal prison capacity, the intent of Congress that penalties for violent and serious drug traffickers who present public safety risks remain appropriately severe, and. Apr 26, 2023, But presidents still wouldnt be able to move their legal cases to the shows The Peoples Court or Divorce Court. Letter to Sens Charles Schumer and Mitch McConnell (September 2, 2021), Washington Examiner, Biden promised to address over-incarceration. The United States Senate has Bought forth the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2021, which will do much for mandatory minimums and "Couriers" if passed. Your note is for you and will not be shared with anyone. Language links are at the top of the page across from the title. Aimed at reducing the disparity in sentencing for crack versus powder cocaine offenses by making crack and powder sentences the same, it would have benefitted thousands of prisoners with retroactive relief. Esta pgina no est disponible en espaol. No one knows. Any judges looking for future promotions are going to think twice about letting violent criminals go or giving them a slap on the wrist, rather than following the law and imposing serious sentences for those who have committed serious crimes., [Editors note: While it is correct that Cruz has been described by one conservative columnist as being like a serpent covered in Vaseline who treats the American people like two-bit suckers in 10-gallon hats, some maintain that there are good snakes in Texas (but Sen. Cruz is not on their list). The Smarter Sentencing Act is a commonsense solution that will greatly reduce the financial and, more importantly, the human cost imposed on society by the broken status quo. |quote=Smarter Sentencing Act of 2021 So in other words, it would look like this: such person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment which may not be less than 10 5 years or more than life and if death or serious bodily injury results from the use of such substance shall be not less than 20 years or more than lifeIf any person commits such a violation after a prior conviction for a serious drug felony or serious violent felonyhas become final, such person shall be sentenced to a term of imprisonment of not less than 15 10years and not more than life imprisonment and if death orserious bodily injury results from the use of such substance shall be sentenced to life imprisonment. % WASHINGTON FAMM President Kevin Ring released the following statement in support of the U.S. Senate introduction of the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2021, which would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for low-level drug offenses. Committee on the Judiciary, Durbin, Lee Introduce Smarter Sentencing Act (March 26, 2021), Congressional Record, Statements On Introduced Bills And Joint Resolutions (S.1013 and S.1014) (March 25, 2021), Sentencing Law and Policy, Senators Durbin and Grassley re-introduce Smarter Sentencing Act to reduce federal drug mandatory minimums (March 26, 2021), Your email address will not be published. Last week, mainstream Newsweek magazine ran an opinion piece claiming that America, in the year 2022, does not suffer from an over-incarceration problem. Prosecutors use of mandatory minimums inover halfof all federal cases disproportionately impacts poor people of color and has driven theexponential growthin the federal prison population in recent decades. The Task Force expired in November 2013, but advocates supported a re-authorization for another six-month term and asked the chairman to hold a hearing on sentencing laws. Phone: (202) 822-6700, FAMM releases statement on the introduction of the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2021, FAMM and NACDL Present: The Vanishing Trial, FAMMsubmits testimony in support of Illinois medical release bill, FAMM releases statement followingSenate introduction of the First Step Implementation Act. Additionally, last years SSA made existing mandatory minimums inapplicable to a defendant who functions a courier; andestablishes new, shorter mandatory minimum prison terms for a courier. 2 0 obj The central remaining sentencing reform in the Durbin-Lee legislation would reduce mandatory minimum penalties for certain nonviolent drug offenses. Second, the Smarter Sentencing Act would make the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) retroactive. Directs the commission to review and amend its guidelines and policy statements applicable to persons convicted of such an offense under the CSA and CSIEA to ensure consistency with this Act and to consider specified factors, including: Requires the Attorney General to report on how the reduced expenditures on federal corrections and cost savings resulting from this Act will be used to help reduce overcrowding, increase investment in law enforcement and crime prevention, and reduce recidivism. But some marijuana and cocaine reform even though it was not quite what was in the MORE Act and EQUAL Act that passed the House looked likely as late as last week. The text goes on further directing the United States Sentencing Commission to consider the safety of the public when reducing the sentences of offenders and the Attorney General to report on the results of the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015. While the House also passed the MORE Act to decriminalize marijuana, the measure has been dead on arrival in the Senate, where Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) announced plans to draft his own version of the bill. One of the most important consequences of these confirmation hearings is there are district judges across the country who may have ambitions for elevations, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who led the charge against Judge Jackson, told CNN. In short, federal incarceration has become one of our nations biggest expenditures, dwarfing the amount spent on law enforcement. Federal Criminal Cooperation (Rule 3553 and the Safety Valve), Federal Halfway Houses and Home Confinement, Statements on Introduced Bills and Joint Resolutions. 4 0 obj No floor votes have been scheduled for any bills. Any of these reforms would be a step toward establishing a new paradigm that abjures mandatory minimums and respects human dignity. Under current law, a defendant must be in Category I to benefit from the safety valve. Under the new law, if passed, someone could have a serious conviction on their record and still be eligible. Once, only Sen Tom Cotton (R-Ark) (who calls First Step Trumps biggest mistake) demanded longer sentences. Smarter Sentencing Act of 2021 This bill reduces statutory mandatory minimum penalties for certain drug offenses, requires reporting on the impact of cost savings from the reductions, and establishes a public database of federal criminal offenses. . The state attorneys general want legislation to change that. 3617) exactly none made it past the Senate during the two-year Congress that ends in a week. 841(b)(1)(A) and (b)(1)(B). With infrastructure and the $3.5 trillion spending bills taking center stage in Congress, it is unlikely that criminal justice reform will get any attention until next year. The bill continued to gain momentum in the Senate and House. |work=Legislation If youve visited a bill page on recently, you may have noticed a new study guide tab located just below the bill title. Sen. Booker then sought unanimous consent to release the stand-alone version of the EQUAL Act from the Senate Judiciary Committee. (2023). WASHINGTON Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) cosponsored the Smarter Sentencing Act, bipartisan legislation designed to bring judicial discretion and flexibility to non-violent drug charge sentencing. Add a note about this bill. Sens. Prisons in Northern Europe are actually supportive, and they see lower rates of violence and recidivism. And we will start all over again, but with a much unfriendlier House of Representatives. Senior Senator for Illinois. Congress was recessed all last week and for part of this one, so no legislative progress was made on the EQUAL Act (S.79), the MORE Act (H.R. In March 2020, in response to the global coronavirus pandemic, Congress passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act), which among other things, created a temporary federal unemployment . As long time followers will note, we have been covering the introduction of the Smarter Sentencing Act since 2015. The term 'courier' means a defendant whose role in the offense was limited to transporting or storing drugs or money.''. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Roger Wicker (R-Miss. The Smarter Sentencing Act, which passed the Senate Judiciary Committee, would take some of the sting out of federal drug sentencing. Any bill introduced in the 117th Congress which began in January 2021 will stick around until the 117th expires a year from today. 801 et seq.) I certainly hope that it passes this year. The mandatory minimum for a courier under 21 USC 960, the importation statute, would essentially be cut in half. It would be an excellent starting point to developing a less destructive drug-sentencing scheme. The bipartisan bill introduction was led by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah). And with mid-terms putting all of the House and a third of Senate up for re-election in November and crime rates shooting up, getting legislators on board for criminal justice reform is going to be more challenging. We called Sen. Lees office last week for a copy of the measure, and received our copy yesterday. Your poor, dumb peasant from El Cocador humping marijuana across the border or clueless young woman flying in to JFK from East Slobovia with heroin in the liner of her suitcase These are the couriers, the lowest of the low-level defendant being paid maybe two shekels for hauling someone elses big score. It is titled " S.1013 - A bill to focus limited Federal resources on the most serious offenders.". |date=March 25, 2021 Washington, D.C. 20005 Still, it appeared up until a week ago that some crack cocaine relief would be jammed into the giant end-of-year spending bill. Under the 2018 bill, the change affected people sentenced under 841(b)(1)(A) and (b)(1)(B), but not people sentenced under the lowest level of sentence, 841(b)(1)(C). endobj The Smarter Sentencing Act, an updated version of the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2019 (which went nowhere), continues the mandatory minimum adjustments to 21 USC 841 (b), the sentencing section of the drug trafficking statute begun by the First Step Act. This bill was introduced in the 117th Congress, which met from Jan 3, 2021 to Jan 3, 2023. The Smarter Sentencing Act of 2015 was a continued effort from the Smarter Sentencing Act of 2013/2014. In 2018, Republicans passed the pro-criminal, So what is real? It doesnt have to be that way with criminal justice reform (January 1, 2022), S. 1014: First Step Implementation Act of 2021, Brookings Institution, The numbers for drug reform in Congress dont add up (December 22, 2021), Real Clear Politics, Recall, Remove & Replace Every Last Soros Prosecutor (December 20, 2021). The American people deserve better.. Data via the congress project. Congress must repeal federal mandatory minimums, make the change retroactive for those already serving mandatory minimum sentences, and incentivize states to follow suit. Under the language of the version in the Senate Judiciary Committee, it authorizes a court that imposed a sentence for a crack cocaine possession or trafficking offense committed before August 3, 2010, on motion of the defendant, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons, the attorney for the government, or the court, to impose a reduced sentence as if provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 were in effect at the time such offense was committed. U.S. District Court Judge Angel Kelley scheduled sentencing for Aug. 10, 2023. The Judiciary chair ranked criminal justice as high on his list of priorities, though he said legislation addressing crime and law enforcement may be just as challenging as immigration a famously tough area of bipartisan compromise on Capitol Hill. This essay is part of the Brennan Centers series examining the punitive excess that has come to define Americas criminal legal system. Over the past century, the mandatory minimums paradigm has moved through the second phase of a paradigm shift the crisis phase becoming the subject of dispute and controversy. We post news and comment on federal criminal justice issues, focused primarily on trial and post-conviction matters, legislative initiatives, andsentencing issues. And starting in 2019 well be tracking Congresss oversight investigations of the executive branch. A bill to focus limited Federal resources on the most serious offenders. Delays can occur when there are a large number of bills to prepare or when a very large bill has to be printed. Please sign up for our advisory group to be a part of making GovTrack a better tool for what you do. Citations available for content in Chicago, APA and MLA format. }}. Well be in touch. And our overreliance on prisons makes us less safe bydiverting resourcesfrom other critical public safety needs. Some of the Smarter Sentencing Act provisions echo those of the Sentence Reform and Corrections Act of 2017, introduced two days earlier. The committees assigned to this bill passed the act by a vote of 15-5 and sent it to the House or Senate as a whole for consideration on October 22, 2015. We anticipate that the provisions of the two bills will be blended into a single package by the Senate Judiciary Committee. And there is no 65% Bill. Our public interest mission means we will never put our service behind a paywall. Join 10 million other Americans using GovTrack to learn about and contact your representative and senators and track what Congress is doing each day. how much does a timeshare cost monthly, arizona governor election 2022 polls,

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