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July 23, 2015

Federal prosecutors group propounds "The Dangerous Myths of Drug Sentencing 'Reform'"

The National Association of Assistant US Attorneys (NAAUSA) has recently prepared this white paper "to inform the public discourse about our current federal drug sentencing system and the most dangerous myths of drug sentencing 'reform'." Here is the paper's introduction to its list and discussion of seven most dangerous myths:

Congress is considering legislation that would dramatically change how we sentence drug traffickers in our federal courts.  These legislative proposals, including one euphemistically named the “Smarter Sentencing Act” (SSA), would slash federal minimum sentences for trafficking in all dangerous drugs by at least half and would make thousands of federal prisoners convicted of serious drug trafficking crimes eligible for early release without regard to their criminal history, violent background, or ties to gangs, drug trafficking organizations, or even international drug trafficking cartels.

Proponents also gloss over the significant changes in federal sentencing guidelines that have already and will continue to result in the early release of thousands of convicted drug traffickers.  These sentencing reductions and early prisoner releases have occurred and will continue to occur regardless of whether Congress enacts the SSA or other sentence reduction proposals.  The impact of these early releases is certain to inflict greater strains upon law enforcement efforts to preserve safety and dismantle gangs and drug trafficking organizations.  If the Smarter Sentencing Act or similar proposals are enacted, they will only aggravate and compound these harms.  Congress will have made our country less safe and contributed toward the reversal of a 20-year period of reduced crime in our nation.

It is critical that Congress avoid this path and understand the mistruths propounded by advocates of sentencing “reform” through the following seven myths.

In some subsequent posts I hope to find time to discuss some of the NAAUSA's discussion of at least some of these "most dangerous myths."

July 23, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Permalink


When they have the proof to back up those claims maybe I'll believe them but until that day I say horseshit.

Posted by: Warren | Jul 23, 2015 12:18:41 PM

Yeah, the rebuttals to the myths are more mythological than the myths they purport to demythologize: https://storify.com/johnfpfaff/the-naausa-s-flawed-attack-on-sentencing-reform

Posted by: John Pfaff | Jul 23, 2015 12:47:56 PM

Bring back the days of no mandatory minimums, no guidelines, and unfettered judicial discretion. Wait, we tried that. It didn't work. And, if you will recall, many liberals in Congress (i.e., Sen. Ted Kennedy & then-Sen. Joe Biden) pushed for the reforms that comprise our federal system today. They wanted LESS judicial discretion and LESS disparity. Because, to use the words of the legendary Judge Marvin Frankel, "the sweeping power of a single judge to determine the sentence, as a matter of largely unreviewable discretion, is a--perhaps 'the'--central evil in the system." Indeed, "the almost wholly unchecked and sweeping powers we give to judges in the fashioning of sentences are terrifying and intolerable for a society that professes devotion to the rule of law."

Posted by: .... | Jul 23, 2015 2:07:39 PM

Yes, it looked as if mandatory minimums would would result in fairer sentencing, and it was a democratic concept that was enacted.

We have since found that Prosecutors doing the sentencing via charging results in far greater disparity. With the mandatory minimums being so egregiously long, we now imprison our citizens at 7 times the rate of other developed and undeveloped nations. How could this be described as progress? I do however understand government employees lobbying for their employment.

Posted by: beth | Jul 23, 2015 2:36:30 PM


Oh, I see. Unlike FAMM, NACDL, and the ACLU who are, of course, entirely objective.

Posted by: Hmmm | Jul 23, 2015 2:56:11 PM

hmmmm... must not have read any stats on this yet I guess... Crime rates have NOT CHANGED..the only that has changed is people are doing more jail time for drugs than for murder, rape, child molestation and actual people crimes committed against those WHO ARENT WILLING.... So maybe educate yourself before you speak publicly ANYWHERE!!!

Posted by: Brandy | Jul 23, 2015 3:23:49 PM

Well, my tax dollars do not pay for FAMM, NACDL and the ACLU in the same way they pay for Federal Prosecution and incarceration.

Federal Employee Unions and associations lobby for a larger share of the federal budget. It all results in a larger more intrusive government in our lives and in many cases reduces freedom. I do feel that it's responsible citizenship to express my opinion about policy and law.

Posted by: beth | Jul 23, 2015 6:54:46 PM

Actually, Brandy, I have done a lot of reading on this. Crime rates are down dramatically and have been for the last several years. (see, e.g., http://m.csmonitor.com/USA/Justice/2012/0109/US-crime-rate-at-lowest-point-in-decades.-Why-America-is-safer-now). Until reading your comment, I was fairly sure all people involved with these issues agreed on that. The disagreement is about the cause of that reduction.

Posted by: Hmmm | Jul 23, 2015 9:43:23 PM

I have to commend the AUSA's. Bill may be pleased to hear that from the ambassador from the real world to the lawyer profession. They made many of the self evident points that I have been arguing for years on this blog. These are self evident to mentally retarded civilians with a small amount of common sense. They are impossible to understand to Ivy indoctrinated law grads. Why? They have been turned into lawyer dumbasses by the criminal cult enterprise that is the lawyer profession.

One missing self-evident point is that the adjudicated charge is fictitious, and may have no relationship to the actual dangerousness of the individual. That would represent a type of self criticism by the AUSA's, so its absence is understandable. Another missing one is that excellent and productive prison conduct in the structured, supervised setting of prison has no relationship to the conduct in the unstructured, unsupervised outside world. Imagine the choice. $9 an hour working the night shift at Wal-mart. $900 an hour and the life returning to the drug business. Which of the lawyer dumbasses here would have any hesitation making such a choice?

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 24, 2015 12:27:03 AM

The current system gives prosecutors most of the power over sentencing. That power instead should be in the hands of judges who have the benefit of listening to government and defense counsel, as well as US probation officers, before they make their decisions. Mandatory minimums give most of the sentencing discretion to prosecutors who usually only get half of the story.

Posted by: Art | Jul 24, 2015 9:45:47 AM

Art. Judges are criminal lover scum. They are not even human beings. They have zero regard for crime victims. They owe their jobs to the thug, and want nothing to scare him. If you deter the criminal, they lose their jobs. Judges are rent seeking scum, subhuman filth. The higher one goes up the judge ladder, the worse the judge, the less human. All appellate judges are reptiles.

No lawyer should ever be allowed to ever sit on any bench, zero exception.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 24, 2015 9:10:02 PM

All criminal lover commentators here must disclose the fraction of their income directly coming from government or to their employer. The credibility of their pro-criminal opinions may then be discounted by the same fraction. They are just defending their own selfish, pro-criminal economic interests.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 24, 2015 9:12:43 PM

That being said, a constitutional amendment is required to end all self dealt tort immunities of the lawyer internal traitors. End prosecutorial immunities, judge immunities, jury immunities, end defense attorney virtual immunity from legal malpractice claims. End legislative malpractice immunities. and end all executive branch tort immunities. Give this subhuman filth a taste of their own medicine. They certainly merit strict liability, because all they have is punishment as a tool. However, professional standards of due care is sufficient.

If this human filth insists on maintaining these appalling and unjust immunities, direct action groups of crime victims and victims' families should bring the lash to them. This policy is absolutely supported by formal logic.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 24, 2015 9:27:21 PM

One benefit of applying the lash to anti-victim legislators is that they will personally be able to attest to the specific deterrent effect of the lash, and become less reluctant to use it as a cheap, immediate and effective punishment in criminal statute.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Jul 24, 2015 10:06:55 PM

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