« If you ever wonder why some have little understanding or respect for the criminal justice system... | Main | California lethal injection litigation now unlikely to be resolved until 2013!?! »

November 3, 2011

"Changed crack sentencing rules leave a justice system in flux"

The title of this post is the headline of this effective article in today's Minneapolis Star Tribune which provides an in-depth review of all the challenges posed by the implementation of the new reduced federal sentencing guidelines for crack.  Here are excerpts:

Carlos Lamont Cleveland, 39, was jailed in 1995 on charges that he was the "right-hand man to the leader of a large and violent drug-trafficking organization" that distributed crack cocaine in Minnesota. But his sister stood by him as he kept challenging his 300-month sentence. This week, she got the news from her brother she had been waiting for: Cleveland would be returning home on Friday.

New sentencing rules that took effect on Tuesday made Cleveland one of more than 1,800 prisoners eligible for release right away, federal officials said. Creature comforts of a full-size bed, a freshly painted room and a bouquet of welcome-home balloons will await him in his hometown of Detroit....

Nationwide, more than 500 people were released from custody on Tuesday, the Federal Bureau of Prisons said. In Minnesota, the change in the guidelines will mean an early release for 100 to 150 inmates who were convicted of crack cocaine crimes. The change is eventually expected to benefit 12,000 U.S. inmates, reducing sentences by an average of three years....

For the past few months, U.S. probation officers, federal defenders and federal prosecutors in Minnesota have been combing through hundreds of court files in an effort to find inmates who may be eligible for release under the new retroactive sentencing rules....

Hundreds of files fill a space in the federal public defender's office that they jokingly call the "crack room," Roe said. At least two lawyers review each file. "The last thing we want to do is miss somebody," she said.

So far, they've found 21 candidates for "immediate release," Roe said. But the number is still in flux. The U.S. attorney's office said it has identified 28 potential candidates for immediate release; the Probation Office said it might be somewhat fewer than that.

So far, orders have been signed for just four that reduced their sentences to time served. In addition to Cleveland, who got a 29- month reduction, they include Paris Lamar Wilson, sentenced in 1997 on charges of conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine, possession and use of a firearm related to drug trafficking; Bobby Woods, sentenced in 2001 on charges of conspiracy and possession of cocaine base, and Steven Mitchell Gant, who pleaded guilty in 2008 to charges of conspiracy and possession of cocaine base, cocaine and ecstasy.

The orders give the Bureau of Prisons 10 days to release the inmates. Jeanne Cooney, a spokeswoman for the U.S. attorney's office in Minnesota, said under the law, the bureau gets time to notify victims in some cases or even local law enforcement. The offenders will remain subject to post- prison "supervised release" even if, in effect, they served excess time under the new guidelines.

Some of the inmates affected by the changes have been imprisoned long after the time they would've been released had the new rules been in place when they were originally sentenced, Roe said. Two are already under electronic monitoring in their homes. Others are in half-way houses because they were already transitioning back into society as they neared the end of their original sentence.

Chief U.S. Probation Officer Kevin Lowry said some inmates who were released early after the first guidelines change experienced "a little bit of culture shock" at their sudden release. "Some did indicate that they had anxiety about being back in the community sooner than they expected," he said. Kerns said probation officers worked hard then and are working hard now to connect the outgoing offenders with social services to ensure they have a place to stay, as well as educational and employment opportunities. "That's what we'll continue to focus on, successful re-entry into the community and helping these folks turn back into successful, law abiding lifestyles," he said.

November 3, 2011 at 08:46 AM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference "Changed crack sentencing rules leave a justice system in flux":


Beats By Dre USCarmelo Anthony From the New York KnicksCheap Beats By DreKobe Bryant From the Los Angeles LakersBeats By Dre SaleLeBron James From the Miami HeatBeats By Dre HeadphonesDwyane Wade From the Miami Heatdr dre headphonesTracy McGrady From the Atlanta Hawksbeats by dr dre headphonesYao Ming From the Houston Rocketsdr dre studio headphonesYi Jianlian From the Washington Wizardsbeats by dr dre pro headphonesChris Paul From the Los Angeles Clippersbeats by dr dre solo HDKevin Durant From the Oklahoma City Thundernew style beats by dr dreDirk Nowitzki From the Dallas MavericksCasque Dr DreJason Kidd From the Dallas MavericksBeats By DreTim Duncan From the San Antonio SpursCasque Monster BeatsDeron Williams From the New Jersey NetsDr.Dre OutletDwight Howard From the Orlando Magiccasque dr dre beatsKevin Garnett From the Boston Celticscasques beats by dre studioPaul Pierce From the Boston Celticscasque beats by dr dre proRay Allen From the Boston Celticscasque beats by dr dre solo HDDerrick Rose From the Chicago Bullscasque dr dre beatsLuis Scola From the Houston Rocketscasque beats by dreKevin Lowry From the Houston Rocketsfrance beats by dreChuck Hayes From the Sacramento kingsbeats by dreAllen Iverson 76 people from Philadelphiadr dre casqueAllen Brooks From the Phoenix Sunscasque beats by dr dreCarl Landry From the New Orleans Hornetscasque beats studioSteve Nash From the Phoenix Sunscasque beats proTony Parker From the San Antonio Spurscasque beats soloManu Ginobili From the San Antonio Spurscasques dr dre solo HDMarc Gasol From the Memphis GrizzliesBeats By Dre AustraliaPau Gasol From the Los Angeles LakersBeats By Dr DreLol Deng From the Chicago BullsDr Dre BeatsDanny Granger From the Indiana pacersDr Dre HeadphonesRussell Westbrook From the Oklahoma City ThunderAustralia beats by dre headphonesLaMarcus Aldridge From the Portland Trail BlazersAustralia beats studioRudy Gay From the Memphis Grizzliesbeats by dre pro headphonsMike Conley From the Memphis Grizzliesdr dre solo HDZach Randolph From the Memphis GrizzliesBeats By Dr DreKevin Martin From the Houston RocketsBeats By Dre AustraliaCourtney Lee From the Houston RocketsBeats By Dre HeadphonesLamar Odom From the Dallas MavericksDr Dre Headphones AustraliaShawn Marion From the Dallas MavericksBeats By Dre HeadphonesRudy Fernandez From the Dallas MavericksBeats By Dr Dre Studio HeadphonesRichard Jefferson From the San Antonio SpursBeats By Dr Dre Pro HeadphonesRajon Rondo From the Boston CelticsBeats By Dr Dre Solo HeadphonesJermaine ONeal From the Boston CelticsBeats By Dr Dre Solo HD HeadphonesAmare Stoudemire From the New York Knicksdr dre beats HeadphonesChauncey Billups From the Los Angeles ClippersBeats By Dre UKElton Brand 76 people from PhiladelphiaDiscount Beats By Dr DreAndre Iguodala 76 people from PhiladelphiaDr Dre Headphones UKEvan Turner 76 people from PhiladelphiaBeats By Dre Online StoreAntawn Jamison From the Cleveland Cavaliersbeats by dreKyrie Irving From the Cleveland Cavaliersdre beats headphonesRashard Lewis From the Washington Wizards New Arrival Beats By Dr DreAndray Blatche From the Washington WizardsBeats By Dr StudioJohn Wall From the Washington Wizardsdr dre Studio headphonesJaVale McGee From the Washington WizardsBeats By Dr Dre ProJosh Howard From the Washington WizardsBeats Pro HeadphonesGilbert Arenas From the Orlando Magicbeats by dre soloHedo Turkoglu From the Orlando Magicbeats by dre solo HDJoe Johnson From the Atlanta Hawksbeats solo HD headphonesJosh Smith From the Atlanta Hawksjustbeats headphonesAl Horford From the Atlanta Hawksdiscount beats headphonesDavid Lee From the Golden State Warriorscanada gooseMonta Ellis From the Golden State Warriorscanada goose ukMarcus Camby From the Portland Trail Blazerscanada goose parkaGerald Wallace From the Portland Trail Blazerscanada goose outletRaymond Felton From the Portland Trail Blazerscanada goose jacketsJonny Flynn From the Houston Rockets

Posted by: Beats By Dre | Feb 2, 2012 4:02:12 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB