« Fascinating mixed criminal justice initiative results developing in California | Main | Eager for thoughts on who President-Elect Donald Trump should or will appoint as to SCOTUS and as Attorney General »

November 9, 2016

Sentencing reform's (uncertain?) future after huge election wins for Republicans, the death penalty, marijuana reform and state sentencing reforms

It is now official that Republican have retained control of both houses of Congress, and it seems now a near certainty that Donald Trump will soon officially be our nation's President Elect.  What that might mean for the future of federal sentencing reform will be the subject of a lot of future posts.  For now, I just want to wrap up the story of dynamic state ballot initiatives in the states by spotlighting that they showcase a pretty consistent national criminal justice reform message for all local, state and national officials.

1.  The death penalty still has deep and broad support in traditionally conservative states like Nebraska and Oklahoma, and clearly still has majority support even in a deep blue state like California.

2.  Non-capital sentencing reform has deep and broad support in a deep blue states like California and can find majority in a traditionally conservative state like Oklahoma.

3.  Medical marijuana reform has deep and broad support seemingly everywhere after winning this year in Arkansas and Florida and Montana and North Dakota.

4.  Recreational marijuana reform has seemingly significant support in blue states after winning this year in California and Massachusetts and Nevada and probably Maine, but in the red state in Arizona it could not garner a majority this year.

November 9, 2016 at 02:48 AM | Permalink


From a wire story: "Californians voted to approve marijuana for recreational use on Tuesday, in what the legalization movement is hailing as its most significant accomplishment since the first states legalized it four years ago. With the success of Proposition 64, nearly 40 million more people will soon be living in a state that has decided to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol rather than treat it like a criminal enterprise. California now joins Colorado and Washington state ― which voted to legalize weed in 2012 ― as well as later arrivals Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C."

Sanity beginning to prevail at last.

Posted by: anon13 | Nov 9, 2016 7:47:36 AM

I don't see the votes in the new Congress for defederalizing marijuana or even moving it to Schedule II (which would permit true medical marijuana). The only other sentencing reform that I could see would be changes to white collar crimes to make it more difficult to prosecute corporations and corporate executive for violating federal regulations.

Posted by: tmm | Nov 9, 2016 10:20:33 AM

With more states legalizing marijuana, how will the feds handle things long term?

For instance, all that money that cannot be processed as normal businesses process money. Who will run the key agencies and such? Anti-drug conservatives (Penceites?) or more Trumpian types who really don't care, just wants to make money off this and run it like a regular business?

Posted by: Joe | Nov 9, 2016 12:20:42 PM

Death penalty on the ballot continues to demonstrate why I don't believe any story claiming that it is on its way out. It's becoming rarer because it's becoming more expensive, but, if it becomes prohibitively expensive, efforts will be made to make it cheaper (at the expense of accuracy) rather than discontinuing it.

Posted by: Erik M | Nov 9, 2016 2:44:32 PM

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