Smart Sentencing Act: Why Congress Is Being Urged to Change Mandatory Sentencing Laws for Criminal Drug Offenses

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.

If you have been charged with a criminal offense, you need a criminal defense lawyer.  Criminal convictions can affect employment applications and often result in substance abuse treatment.  Contact the Law Office of Ben Crittenden at 907-771-9002 for a free case evaluation.  You can also visit our DUI/DWICriminal Defense, and Blog pages for more information.

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