Showing posts with label sentencing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sentencing. Show all posts

Robert Gebelhoff: How Powerful Should Our Juries Be?

Justice is a result, not just a process.  In 1986, Leroy Reed faced criminal charges he didn’t understand. A mentally disabled ex-convict from Milwaukee, Reed was charged with illegally possessing a firearm after his parole office discovered that he had purchased a .22-caliber pistol to go with a mail-order private detective course. While it was obvious  ... MORE

Jordan Richardson: A Serious Problem In Our Legal System

Justice is a result, not simply a process.       A life sentence. For Sharanda Jones, a first-time, nonviolent cocaine offender, it wasn’t sinking in. “I was numb,” she remembers. “I was thinking about my baby. I thought it can’t be real life in prison.” Having grown up in a disadvantaged family, Sharanda started working at the age of 14, later opening ... MORE

President Obama’s Department Of Injustice

by Alec Karakatsanis.  The policy should be considered a crime. Last month, President Obama used his clemency power to reduce the sentences of 46 federal prisoners locked up on drug-related charges. But for the last six years, his administration has worked repeatedly behind the scenes to ensure that tens of thousands of poor people — disproportionately ... MORE

Prison Sentences Based On Crimes Not Yet Committed

by Barry-Jester, Casselman and Goldstein.   Criminal sentencing has long been based on the present crime and, sometimes, the defendant’s past criminal record. In Pennsylvania, judges could soon consider a new dimension: the future. Pennsylvania is on the verge of becoming one of the first states in the country to base criminal sentences not only on  ... MORE

Felony Murder Case Linked To Marijuana Deal Illustrates The Need For Jurors To Know About Jury Nullification

Because justice is a result, not just a process.    A murder case that prompted a Wichita woman’s run for governor last year is in the hands of a Sedgwick County jury. Kyler Carriker, the son of former gubernatorial candidate Jennifer Winn, faces a life sentence without parole eligibility for 20 years if he is convicted of first-degree felony murder in the  ... MORE

Kate Vinton: Feds Subpoena Libertarian Media Site Over Posted Reader Comments Threatening Silk Road Judge

Rhetorical criticism treated as actual threats.  The Department of Justice issued a grand jury subpoena to Reason.com last week, asking the libertarian media site for the identities of six readers who had posted comments threatening Silk Road Judge Katherine Forrest. Blogger Ken White obtained the subpoena and published it in a post on      ... MORE

Jury Nullification: A Concept Every American Should Learn

by Kevin Mathews.     A juror can insist on justice. Did you know that, no matter the evidence, if a jury feels a law is unjust, it is permitted to “nullify” the law rather than finding someone guilty? Basically, jury nullification is a jury’s way of saying, “By the letter of the law, the defendant is guilty, but we also disagree with that law, so we   ... MORE

Tim Mak: He’ll Rot For Pot: 55 Years For Weed

Koch brothers seek reform.      A father of two was sentenced to 55 years in jail for selling pot. The Koch brothers want to help set him free and make him the face of their new campaign for criminal justice reform. Weldon Angelos could have hijacked a plane and spent less time in jail. But due to mandatory sentencing laws, the father of two was      ... MORE

Is Obama the Drug Warrior Becoming Obama the Reformer?

by Jacob Sullum.    In a 2011 Reason cover story, I explained why drug policy reformers had been bitterly disappointed by President Obama's performance during his first few years in office. With the notable exception of his support for shorter crack sentences, which Congress approved almost unanimously in 2010, Obama had done very    ... MORE

The Messy Politics of California's Overcrowded Prison Crisis

by Zach Weissmueller. "A prison that deprives prisoners of basic sustenance, including adequate medical care, is incompatible with the concept of human dignity and has no place in civilized society," wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy for the majority in a Supreme Court ruling against Governor Jerry Brown and the state of California in the   ... MORE

Jacob Sullum: Why Prosecutors Love Mandatory Minimums

Prosecutorial power hinders justice process.   In 1996, when he was the U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia, Eric Holder urged the D.C. Council to reinstate mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenses, which it had abolished in 1994. Two decades later, as an attorney general who has repeatedly criticized "draconian"       ... MORE

Nullification: The Secret Weapon Against Harsh Sentencing

by Molly Knefel.      What if justice was the goal? On July 2, Occupy Wall Street protester Cecily McMillan was released from Rikers Island, completing a sentence that her jury never wanted her to serve. On May 19, that jury of twelve convicted McMillan of felony assault against police officer Grantley Bovell. The verdict came after a four-week     ...  MORE