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March 17, 2016

"Easing Mandatory Minimums Will Not Be Enough"

The title of this post is the headline of this notable article in Judicature authored by one of my old bosses, Second Circuit Judge Jon O. Newman.  I recommend the full piece, and here is how it starts:

Congress is finally considering easing mandatory minimum penalties.  However, this effort, even if successful, will need to be complemented by actions taken by the United States Sentencing Commission and federal district judges.

If some mandatory minimum requirements are repealed or at least modified, there will be two immediate consequences.  First, prosecutors will be deprived of the awesome power to coerce a guilty plea by threatening to charge an offense that will subject a defendant to a mandatory minimum sentence.  Second, sentencing judges will be spared the often distasteful obligation to impose a required sentence that is more severe than the one they would have selected had they been free to use their sentencing discretion.

But these immediate consequences, desirable as they are, will be only the first of three steps needed to reduce the severity of sentences currently subject to mandatory minimum requirements.  The Sentencing Commission must take the second step of revising the Sentencing Guidelines, and then district judges must take the third step of using their authority to impose non-Guidelines sentences.

March 17, 2016 at 07:50 PM | Permalink


I think they should because they need help,not to become institutionalized.the more serious offenders such as sex offenders,murders,and violent crimes should get more attention,as a recovered addict I got help and am living a normal life.my boyfriend is facing a ten year sentence and his codefendant is dead,he got left holding the bag,before all this he was a single father a great father and that goes unnoticed please I beg you to pass this law a mistake ten years at 85% that's a pretty stiff consequence. Tty for your time

Posted by: krysta | Mar 17, 2016 11:41:00 PM

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