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June 2004
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Senselessbrenner proposes horrible new sentencing bill

Via TalkLeft comes word of another horrible bill with an exploitive and deceptive name: Defending America’s Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2004 sponsored by House Judiciary Chair Jim Sensenbrenner (R-5th district, WI). So far he’s the sole sponsor, but he has a lot of power, and it’s going to take some effort in an election year to prevent passage.
To read the bill, go to Thomas and type in HR4547. The bill makes adjustments to the Controlled Substances Act.
Here are some of the new penalties for distribution of any controlled substance (including marijuana), or attempting or conspiring to distribute (note that actual sale is not required).

  • Distribution by a person older than 18 to a person under 21 is 5 year mandatory for first offense. (would probably include two college students sharing a joint)
  • Distribution by a person older than 18 to a person under 21 is 10 years for subsequent offense.
  • Distribution by a person older than 21 to a person under 18 is 10 year mandatory for first offense.
  • Distribution by a person older than 21 to a person under 18 is life in prison for subsequent offense.

No opportunity would be given for probation or suspended sentences. Judicial involvement would be limited.
Additionally, the bill would increase “proximity penalties.” Once you add all the things together, you get:

Distributing, manufacturing, or possession with intent to distribute within one thousand feet of a public or private elementary, vocational, or secondary school or a public or private college, junior college, or university, or a playground, or a public or private youth center, public swimming pool, or video arcade facility, or public library, or public or private daycare facility would be subject to 5 years minimum for the first offense, 10 years minimum for the second offense.

Tell your Representative to oppose mandatory sentencing.
And if you live in the 5th District of Wisconsin, you might want to check out Bryan Kennedy, who is opposing Frank James Sensenbrenner, Jr. in November.
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