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Mandatory Minimums

Mandatory Minimum Cop-Out

Julie Stewart | Posted 04.16.2013 | Crime
Julie Stewart

While the instinct to lock up dangerous, gun-toting criminals is a good one, the proposal unveiled in Chicago on Monday is a cop-out.

Sentences So Long They Scare Us to Death

Mary Price | Posted 04.03.2013 | Crime
Mary Price

The tragic suicide of Aaron Swartz has prompted long overdue reflection about the power of federal prosecutors.

Three Decades in Solitary Confinement: America's Greatest Living Prison Escape Artist

Gabriel London | Posted 02.18.2013 | Crime
Gabriel London

Eleven years ago, I set out on an adventure to tell the story of Mark DeFriest, an infamous and brilliant prison escape artist who had earned the title "Houdini of Florida" and has spent 27 of the last 32 years in prison for his escapes and disciplinary infractions.

Morning Links: D.C. Murder Rate Plummets, Mandatory Minimums, Big Brother Takes The Bus

Radley Balko | Posted 02.11.2013 | Politics
Radley Balko

--The latest from the creepy surveillance state: Cities installing microphones on public buses to record your conversations. We can thank DHS for at l...

Increase Options for Sentencing Relief

Julie Stewart | Posted 12.25.2012 | Crime
Julie Stewart

Clemency applicants frequently wait years for a response. Most are denied with little or no explanation -- or for reasons that seem subjective and inconsistent.

Crack Dealer-Turned-Filmmaker Offers Cautionary Tale

Reuters | Posted 09.02.2012 | Black Voices

By Eddie B. Allen Jr. DETROIT, July 3 (Reuters) - Convicted crack dealer DeWayne Wilkerson would be in prison until 2015 if not for ch...

Justice Should Apply to All, Not Just Juveniles

Julie Stewart | Posted 08.28.2012 | Crime
Julie Stewart

The Supreme Court held that mandatory life without parole sentences for juveniles are unconstitutional. The Court got the result right, but it was the reasoning of Justice Elena Kagan's majority opinion that grabbed my attention.

Florida Gun Law Gives Disabled Vet the "TSA Treatment"

Julie Stewart | Posted 06.08.2012 | Crime
Julie Stewart

That any individual, let alone a disabled vet who served his country and community, would be sentenced to 20 years in prison based on these facts would be funny if it weren't so sickening.

Protecting Marissa at the Expense of the Next Trayvon

Josh Horwitz | Posted 07.29.2012 | Politics
Josh Horwitz

Like George Zimmerman, Marissa Alexander discharged her weapon in Florida. Unlike Zimmerman, she was immediately arrested, despite that she did not kill or injure anyone. Moreover, a judge and jury rejected Alexander's "Stand Your Ground" defense, while Zimmerman might never see trial because of it.

Mothers and Mandatory Minimums

Julie Stewart | Posted 05.15.2012 | Crime
Julie Stewart

Mothers dispense and believe in justice. But as mothers like Janet Earle have learned the hard way, mandatory sentences that ignore individual circumstances do not deliver justice. They inflict unnecessary pain and misery, and they must be repealed in Florida and across the country.

Victim of an Unjust Law

Julie Stewart | Posted 04.26.2012 | Politics
Julie Stewart

But because of Florida's inflexible sentencing laws, Marissa Alexander now faces a mandatory minimum of 20 years in state prison, despite the fact that she did not harm anyone.

Mandatory Minimum Gun Laws Ensure Nothing But Disparity

Julie Stewart | Posted 06.19.2012 | Politics
Julie Stewart

If you were not already convinced that mandatory minimum sentencing laws are a colossal fraud, recent developments in New York City should convert you.

Mike Sacks

Supreme Court Weighs Fate Of Crack Dealers | Mike Sacks | Posted 04.17.2012 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- A couple of convicted crack cocaine dealers caught between old and new sentencing regimes had their cases argued before the Supreme Cour...

A Way Forward on Marijuana

Julie Stewart | Posted 06.09.2012 | Crime
Julie Stewart

Despite the growing support for legalizing marijuana, federal law still imposes extraordinarily heavy punishment for growing it.

How Would Jesus Punish?

Molly M. Gill | Posted 05.26.2012 | Religion
Molly M. Gill

The Proverbs repeatedly describe God's hatred of unfairly loaded measuring scales. Those scales include the scales of justice used in our courthouses.

Don't Blame Judges for Racial Disparity

Julie Stewart | Posted 04.09.2012 | Black Voices
Julie Stewart

Members of Congress who believe offenders should be punished for their conduct and not the color of their skin should take heed.

NJ Gov. Christie's Fresh Approach to Drug Offenders

Julie Stewart | Posted 03.27.2012 | Politics
Julie Stewart

Governor Christie's plan for nonviolent offenders -- coming as it does from a former U.S. Attorney and Republican statewide leader -- has the potential to be a game-changer.

Race, Class and Justice in the U.S. Legal System: Still a Long Way From the Promised Land

Marianne Mollmann | Posted 03.18.2012 | Crime
Marianne Mollmann

Last week, a Belgian tourist said he believed he had been cut some slack by the New York City police mainly because he was white. Indeed, even a perfunctory look at US criminal justice figures reveals that something is not quite right.

Mercy for People, Not Just Turkeys

Julie Stewart | Posted 01.22.2012 | Politics
Julie Stewart

This week, President Barack Obama won't just be pardoning turkeys. He decided to throw some human beings in the mix, too.

Tories Won't Budge On Mandatory Minimums: Nicholson

CP | Keith Doucette, The Canadian Press | Posted 10.15.2011 | Home

HALIFAX - Canada's judges will get no leeway on mandatory minimum sentences as Ottawa proceeds with its anti-crime agenda during the fall session of P...

Reagan Turns 100: Media Fawning Ignores His Disastrous "War on Drugs"!

Tony Newman | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Tony Newman

It's interesting that in all of the press I've read so far celebrating Ronald Reagan, I have not seen one word about his radical escalation of the drug war -- and the devastating effects that had on our society.

The Moral Urgency of Crack Retroactivity

Julie Stewart | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Julie Stewart

President Obama has reformed what many considered the most racially discriminatory sentencing policy in federal law. Now, he should do what is right -- apply the reform retroactively to all offenders.

Reading Charlotte's Web as a Activist

Tony Newman | Posted 05.25.2011 | Books
Tony Newman

Thirty five years after originally reading the book, I have realized that E.B. White was not only a great writer, but a visionary and activist as well.

The Michelle Obama Weight Debate

Peter Gorman | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Peter Gorman

If one really wants to look at a First Lady who pushed her own agenda, one need only look at Nancy Reagan and her Just Say No effort.

Want to Cut Spending? Invest in Jim Webb's Criminal Justice Commission

Julie Stewart | Posted 05.25.2011 | Politics
Julie Stewart

If we are honest, we will admit that some of the most devastating consequences of our criminal justice systems do not lend themselves to measurement in dollars and cents.