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Sentencing

'Failure to Protect' Laws Punish Victims of Domestic Violence

Adam Banner | Posted 12.04.2014 | Crime
Adam Banner

True justice is not measured by what we think we would do in a similar situation; it is measured by the law and how the law applies to certain facts. It is time to stop using the law to blame the victims, and instead find solutions that truly protect our nation's children from violence and abuse.

Why Is Judge Rakoff a Lone Wolf?

Joel Cohen | Posted 11.03.2014 | Crime
Joel Cohen

Why is Judge Rakoff (seemingly) the only one willing to expose to the general public the galling scenario that plays out every day in our courts?

French Journalists Sentenced To Prison

AP | Posted 12.24.2014 | Media

JAYAPURA, Indonesia (AP) — Two French television journalists were sentenced to two and a half months in jail Friday for illegal reporting in Indones...

In a Do-Nothing Year, Here's One Thing Congress Can Actually Do

Jeremy Haile | Posted 11.09.2014 | Politics
Jeremy Haile

In a town where Republicans and Democrats cannot agree on light bulbs or cafeteria utensils, legislation to address overcrowding in the federal prison system had the backing of both President Obama and Senator Ted Cruz.

May the Odds Be (Never) in Minorities' Favor? Breaking Down the Risk-Based Sentencing Divide

Jessica Eaglin | Posted 10.22.2014 | Crime
Jessica Eaglin

The U.S. criminal justice system is built on the premise that one size does not fit when meting out justice. An individualized sentencing practice is key to a fair and just sentence.

Sensible Drug Sentencing Reform

Andrea Lyon | Posted 09.23.2014 | Crime
Andrea Lyon

As long as there have been societies, use of drugs and alcohol have been a part of them. Abuse of both drugs and alcohol is endemic, but could be better controlled were we to start treating drug and alcohol abuse in the same way; that is a public health problem that needs treatment, rather than only as a criminal law problem.

Ryan J. Reilly

An Obscure Commission Just Voted To Shorten The Sentences Of 46,000 Federal Drug Offenders

HuffingtonPost.com | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 07.18.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- The U.S. Sentencing Commission on Friday afternoon voted unanimously to allow federal prisoners behind bars for certain drug trafficking...

Ryan J. Reilly

It Took This Former Congressman Years Behind Bars To See The Need For Drug War Reform

HuffingtonPost.com | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 07.11.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- A former Republican member of Congress is ready to join the fight for sentencing reform and rolling back harsh mandatory minimums for dr...

Dodging Decarceration: The Shell Game of 'Getting Smart' on Crime

Heather Ann Thompson | Posted 09.08.2014 | Politics
Heather Ann Thompson

It has taken a long time, far too long, but politicians seem finally to have realized how catastrophically expensive it is for the United States to lock up more people than any other country on the planet.

Ryan J. Reilly

DOJ Backs Proposal To Make Drug Sentences Shorter Retroactively

HuffingtonPost.com | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 06.10.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- The Justice Department is formally backing a proposal being considered by the U.S. Sentencing Commission that would shorten the amount o...

Who's Afraid of Too Much Justice?

Megan Quattlebaum | Posted 08.03.2014 | Crime
Megan Quattlebaum

if we have revised our view of what constitutes a just sentence for a drug offense, then we cannot and should not justify continuing to incarcerate 51,141 people under an old, rejected understanding. We should never be afraid of too much justice.

Ryan J. Reilly

How Lobbyists Are Quietly Supporting The War On Drugs

HuffingtonPost.com | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 04.03.2014 | Politics

WASHINGTON -- Several organizations representing state and local law enforcement are quietly trying to kill a bipartisan bill that would roll back tou...

Ryan J. Reilly

New Justice Department Policy Will Cut Federal Drug Sentences

HuffingtonPost.com | Ryan J. Reilly | Posted 03.13.2014 | Politics

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce a new policy on Thursday that may shorten sentences for federal drug offenders as part of his "Smart on Cri...

Why We Should Dismantle the Death Penalty

Carl Pettit | Posted 04.20.2014 | Politics
Carl Pettit

If someone deliberately killed one of our loved ones, we could (I know I would) very well harbor fantasies of violent revenge. Under these difficult circumstances, that would be a very human thing to do. But it shouldn't be the responsibility of the state to carry out the ultimate penalty for us.

How Senator Vitter Lost His Food Fight

Jeremy Haile | Posted 04.06.2014 | Politics
Jeremy Haile

The purpose of the Vitter amendment was apparently to take a mean-spirited swipe at an unpopular constituency while putting opponents on the defensive. And at first it seemed to work.

Biggest Overhaul in Federal Drug Sentencing in Decades Clears Major Hurdle, Despite Opposition From Heartless Prosecutors

Bill Piper | Posted 04.01.2014 | Politics
Bill Piper

Today the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee passed bipartisan sentencing reform legislation that reduces the federal prison population, decreases racial disparities, saves taxpayer money, and reunites nonviolent drug law offenders with their families sooner.

Billionaire Beanie Should Get Mercy

Adam Resnick | Posted 03.15.2014 | Business
Adam Resnick

On the surface, Warner may not strike people as the most sympathetic non-violent criminal. After all, he is a billionaire, but he still committed a crime of greed according to prosecutors. On the other hand, he has no criminal record, has paid nearly a billion dollars in taxes throughout his lifetime, is philanthropic, and is not a threat to society.

Reforming The Prison Capital Of The World

Radley Balko | Posted 01.23.2014 | Politics

Last year, the Times-Picayune published an award winning series on how Louisiana became the "prison capital of the world." The paper justified the cla...

Locked Down for Life for a Nonviolent Offense Is Beyond Cruel and Unusual

Earl Ofari Hutchinson | Posted 09.23.2013 | Crime
Earl Ofari Hutchinson

More than 10,000 persons are now locked up in America's jails for life with no chance of release. The majority of these non-violent offenders are there for either drug offenses or property crime.

Friday Talking Points -- The Debate Debate

Chris Weigant | Posted 10.16.2013 | Politics
Chris Weigant

Republican-on-Republican fear-mongering is such a treat to enjoy. In this case, establishment Republicans vs. the Tea Party.

Stitching Up a Paper Cut: Eric Holder Is 'Fixing' a Federal Problem at the Expense of the States

Adam Banner | Posted 10.15.2013 | Crime
Adam Banner

If the federal government recognizes that mandatory minimums are likely inappropriate sentences for nonviolent offenders, perhaps the states will follow suit, developing diversion programs, prison alternatives, and reasonable means for re-entry.

Congress Thrilled: 'We Have an Approval Rating Better Than Ariel Castro'

El Guapo | Posted 10.07.2013 | Comedy
El Guapo

When asked if they would try moving forward on any legislation meant to help average Americans, they all stifled a laugh and turned the bar's TV to The Hunger Games and started taking furious notes.

Clemency Reform: We're Still Waiting

Julie Stewart | Posted 09.18.2013 | Crime
Julie Stewart

A year ago, The Washington Post and ProPublica reported that the Obama administration was set to reverse its poor record on clemency. It didn't happen. Since winning reelection, President Obama has not commuted a single sentence.

Mexican Ex-Governor Hears His Fate In Money Laundering Case

AP | LARRY NEUMEISTER | Posted 06.29.2013 | Crime

NEW YORK -- A former governor of a Mexican state who admitted to conspiring to launder money in a New York drug case was sentenced Friday to just unde...

Crimes, Criminals, and the Insanity Defense

Mark Rubinstein | Posted 05.29.2013 | Crime
Mark Rubinstein

At the heart of the NGRI defense is the claim the defendant either lacked the capacity to know right from wrong (was brain-damaged, intellectually impaired) or had a mental disorder when the crime was committed, causing an inability to act within the law's requirements.