Showing posts from August, 2013

U.S. Sentencing Commission Releases Policy Priorities for Amendment Cycle Ending May 1, 2014

The U.S. Sentencing Commission has released its policy priorities for the amendment cycle ending May 1, 2014.  A few of the highlights including the following: Pursuant to 28 U.S.C. 994(g), the Commission intends to consider the issue of reducing costs of incarceration and overcapacity of prisons, to the extent it is relevant to any identified priority... Continuation of its work with Congress and other interested parties on statutory mandatory minimum penalties to implement the recommendations set forth in the Commission’s 2011 report to Congress, titled Mandatory Minimum Penalties in the Federal Criminal Justice System, including its recommendations regarding the severity and scope of mandatory minimum penalties, consideration of expanding the ‘‘safety valve’’ at 18 U.S.C. 3553(f), and elimination of the mandatory ‘‘stacking’’ of penalties under 18 U.S.C. 924(c), and to develop appropriate guideline amendments in response to any related legislation... Possible consideration of amen

Modified Drug Charge Plea Deal in DC Area - Example of New Directive from AG Holder on Averting Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Low-Level Drug Offenders

The Washington Post is reporting that a man accused of drug running pleaded guilty in Alexandria, Virginia this week to a cocaine conspiracy charge that did not include a specific quantity of narcotics.  The Post believes this is the first case in the D.C. area to utilize Attorney General Eric Holder's new directive on mandatory minimum sentencing for minor drug offenders. From the Post: Marko Bukumirovic, 33, who lives in Severna Park, was charged in May with conspiracy to distribute five kilograms or more of cocaine, which carries a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years in prison. But in an Alexandria court Tuesday, he pleaded guilty to essentially the same charge without the five-kilogram amount noted — an offense that has no mandatory minimum term. On paper, the case seems to be one of the first public applications of Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s directive on mandatory minimum sentencing — the centerpiece of a criminal-justice reform plan that aims to save tens of

Bradley Manning Sentenced to 35 Years in Prison

According to CNN, Bradley Manning has been sentenced to 35 years in prison by a military judge.  Manning will also have his rank reduced to private, will forfeit his pay and benefits, and will be dishonorably discharged from the military.  From CNN: Lind convicted Manning in July of stealing 750,000 pages of classified documents and videos and disseminating them to WikiLeaks. He was found guilty of 20 of the 22 charges against him, including violations of the U.S. Espionage Act. Prosecutors have said Manning acted as a "determined insider" in leaking classified information about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and should be locked up for at least 60 years. Manning's lawyer contends he can be rehabilitated and should not "rot in jail." "There may not be a soldier in the history of the Army who displayed such an extreme disregard" for his mission, Capt. Joe Morrow, the prosecutor, said Monday during final sentencing arguments. The entire CNN story

Jesse Jackson Jr. Sentenced to 30 Months in Prison

Jesse Jackson Jr. has been sentenced to 30 months in prison for his misuse of campaign funds. According to CNN, Jackson's wife, Sandi Jackson, received 12 months in prison. "I misled the American people," Jackson, 48, said before U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson imposed the term, which she said should be served in Alabama. The ex-Illinois lawmaker's wife, Sandi, received a 12-month sentence for her role in her husband's misuse of roughly $750,000 in campaign funds over several years. As the judge read her sentence, Sandi Jackson wept. The pair pleaded guilty in February to various charges -- Jackson to one count of conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud, and false statements; and his wife to filing false tax returns. A smooth politician and the son of Jesse Jackson Sr., a civil rights leader and one-time political heavyweight, the younger Jackson admitted to years of using campaign money to pay for things such as vacations, furs and Michael Jackson memor

US Prison Populations Decline

The New York Times has an interesting piece regarding the continued decrease in the U.S. prison population. The prison population in the United States dropped in 2012 for the third consecutive year, according to federal statistics released on Thursday, in what criminal justice experts said was the biggest decline in the nation’s recent history, signaling a shift away from an almost four-decade policy of mass imprisonment. The number of inmates in state and federal prisons decreased by 1.7 percent, to an estimated 1,571,013 in 2012 from 1,598,783 in 2011, according to figures released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an arm of the Justice Department. Although the percentage decline appeared small, the fact that it followed decreases in 2011 and 2010 offers persuasive evidence of what some experts say is a “sea change” in America’s approach to criminal punishment. “This is the beginning of the end of mass incarceration,” said Natasha Frost, associate dean of Northeastern Universit