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Authority to impose a sentence below a statutory minimum.
Section 3553 of title 18, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:
"(g) Authority To impose a sentence below a statutory minimum To prevent an unjust sentence.--
"(1) GENERAL RULE.--Notwithstanding any provision of law other than this subsection, the court may impose a sentence below a statutory minimum if the court finds that it is necessary to do so in order to avoid violating the requirements of subsection (a).
"(2) COURT TO GIVE PARTIES NOTICE.--Before imposing a sentence under paragraph (1), the court shall give the parties reasonable notice of the court's intent to do so and an opportunity to respond.
I think the idea of having a vote, to increase accountability and transparency, is not without merit. Indeed, I think what we need here is much more transparency.
"(3) STATEMENT IN WRITING OF FACTORS.--The court shall state, in the written statement of reasons, the factors under subsection (a) that require imposition of a sentence below the statutory minimum.
"(4) APPEAL RIGHTS NOT LIMITED.--This subsection does not limit any right to appeal that would otherwise exist in its absence.".
[E]ven if the vast majority of Senators strongly support significant reforms to federal mandatory minimum sentencing provisions or to federal marijuana provisions, Senator Grassley can ensure-- at least until 2017, and perhaps after that if the GOP retains control of the Senate -- that federal reform bills do not even get a committee hearing, let alone a committee vote. Indeed, even if the vast majority of 300 million Americans, and even if the vast majority of the 718,215 Iowans who voted for Senator Grassley in 2010, would strongly favor a reform bill, the bill is likely DOA if Senator Grassley himself is not keen on the bill's particulars. Frustratingly, that is how our democracy now functions.
The new case is Montgomery v. Louisiana, No. 14-280. This case is a better vehicle than Toca, as the facts are more typical of an LWOP case. Montgomery murdered Deputy Sheriff Charles H. Hurt in 1963, when Montgomery was 17. He could have been executed in the electric chair at the time, but the jury granted him leniency.
The question presented as phrased by the petitioner/defendant is, "whether Miller adopts a new substantive rule that applies retroactively on collateral review to people condemned as juveniles to die in prison?" The Court added its own question, "Do we have jurisdiction to decide whether the Supreme Court of Louisiana correctly refused to give retroactive effect in this case to our decision in Miller v. Alabama, 567 U. S. ____ (2012)?"
Note the "die in prison" phrasing. Apparently death is no longer different.
My initial impression is that the answers are "no" and "yes." Since the parties are agreed on the jurisdictional point, the Court may appoint an amicus to argue the "no."
In other action, Court decided two civil cases today. Still waiting on the Facebook threats case, Elonis v. United States. Possibly tomorrow.
Yesterday the Court turned down the Wisconsin voter ID case, Frank v. Walker, No. 14-803.
I do not think there is much doubt, Bill, that many persons concerned about mass incarceration want to lower sentences for violent criminals. I will be the first to say that I do not think anyone should get LWOP sentences. Also, arguably Weldon Angelos and Chris Williams were both "violent criminals" and I wanted both of them to get less than effective LWOP sentences.
You are right that some advocates will say they are only concerned with reducing sentences for the most sympathetic of defendants, but that is largely because you and fans of toughness do not want to even do that...
Readers are invited, it they care to, to examine the full exchange.
I sometimes get frustrated with Doug, but I have nothing but admiration for his candor.
The 2014 Best Picture Oscar winner, 12 Years a Slave, is based on the 1853 autobiography by Solomon Northup.1 Northrup, a black freeman in New York, was kidnapped and sold into Southern slavery.2 There is an eternally haunting, prolonged, and grueling scene in the movie where Northup has a noose around his neck and strains for breath by tiptoeing on the ground to keep from being lynched.3 Other slaves on the plantation are paralyzed by fear and ignore him. Like a ballerina en pointe, Northup spends long hours in this slow motion lynching dance until he is rescued by his owner.
This Article does not suggest that incarcerating almost exclusively black men for unprecedented lengthy terms of incarceration, for crack cocaine offenses they illegally committed, is the equivalent of lynching innocent blacks. It does, however, suggest both actions have strong racial overtones; both share a lack of public outcry; both share tacit public complicity; both share governmental complicity; both share devastating effects on families, children, and neighborhoods; and both have been accomplished largely at the hands of those unknown--at least to the general public.
Before clicking on the link, care to guess how many of the six answer the main question "no"? Or who wrote it? (Oops, that singular pronoun in the second question sorta gave away the first.)
The nation as a whole had a 6% drop in property crime over the two-year period, while California had a 3% increase, a difference of 9%.
Mr. Grassley [Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee], for reasons that defy basic fairness and empirical data, has remained an opponent of almost any reduction of [federal] sentences. In a speech from the Senate floor this month, he called the bills "lenient and, frankly, dangerous," and he raised the specter of high-level drug traffickers spilling onto the streets.
Mr. Grassley is as mistaken as he is powerful. Mandatory minimums have, in fact, been used to punish many lower-level offenders who were not their intended targets. Meanwhile, the persistent fantasy that locking up more people leads to less crime continues to be debunked. States from California to New York to Texas have reduced prison populations and crime rates at the same time. A report released last week by the Brennan Center for Justice found that since 2000 putting more people behind bars has had essentially no effect on the national crime rate.
The Times's claim about the "persistent fantasy" that increased incarceration produces less crime is stupid, dishonest and false.