About six weeks ago, I testified
before the House Task Force on Over-Criminalization. The focus of the hearing was on mandatory minimum sentencing in federal law and, more generally, on whether federal drug sentences are "too long."
I closed my remarks by asking Congress to wait for the results of a couple of recent developments (the AG's effective abandonment of mandatory minimums for many drug crimes, and the USSC's two-level guidelines reduction for drug offenses). For those who believe in "evidence-based" sentencing, it would seem natural to want to see some, well, evidence: Maybe these new measures would work out, and maybe not. Time would tell.
I can't say that Congress took my advice exactly, but the Smarter Sentencing Act, which would lighten if not cripple drug sentencing, has stalled in Congress over the summer. And sure enough, evidence from the new norm of lighter sentencing has started to come in, reported by, of all things, the NYT.
, and the evidence, is underneath this headline: "Second Thoughts for Lighter Sentences for Drug Smugglers"