U.S. District Court Judge Michael Ponsor urged passage of the Smarter Sentencing Act in a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal because of “prisoners I lose sleep over.” The Senate Judiciary Committee recently approved the “Smart Sentencing Act” by a bipartisan vote of 13-5, sending it to the Senate floor.
According to Judge Ponsor, the legislation “would be a long overdue correction to a misguided sentencing regime that Americans – including federal judges like me — have struggled with for more than two decades.” “For years,” Judge Ponsor goes on to say, “I could recite the mandatory terms for crack in my sleep: five years for five grams, 10 years for 50 grams, 20 years for 50 grams with one prior conviction, life without parole for 50 grams with two priors – no discretion, no consideration of specific circumstances. These mandatory terms (unless the defendant cooperated by implicating others) were the same for low-level couriers, called mules, as for high-echelon drug lords.”
The Smart Sentencing Act will reduce 20-year mandatory sentences to 10 years, 10-year mandatory sentences to five, and five-year sentences to two years. A number of offenders with modest criminal records would not face mandatory sentences at all. This is a much needed correction to our current sentencing regime, as described by Judge Posnor. Please urge your Senators and Congressman to support the Bill.
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