Congressman James Sensenbrenner has launched his next assault on freedom. The full House Judiciary Committee is set to vote as early as next week on H.R. 1528, which creates a new group of mandatory miniumum penalties for non-violent drug offenses, including a five year penalty for passing a joint to someone who’s been in drug treatment.
That’s right: Passing a joint to someone who used to be in drug treatment will land you in federal prison for a minimum of five years.
The “Defending America’s Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005” (H.R. 1528) was introduced by House Judiciary Committee Chairman James Sensenbrenner (R-WI) on April 6, and it has already passed out of the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.
Senselessbrenner has been after this for a while (I mentioned an earlier version of this bill last year).
The list of atrocities in this bill are unbelievable. Here are a couple of examples:
- 10-year sentence for a second offense of distributing marijuana to a person under 21. (this would include one 20-year-old college student giving a joint to another 20-year old college student)
- Three-year mandatory minimum for parents who witness or learn about drug trafficking activities, targeting or even near their children, if they do not report it to law enforcement authorities within 24 hours and do not provide full assistance investigating, apprehending, and prosecuting the offender.
- Increase to five years the federal mandatory minimum sentence for the sale of a controlled substance within 1,000 feet of a school, college, public library, drug treatment facility (or any place where drug treatment, including classes, are held), or private or public daycare facilities – in short, almost anywhere in cities across the U.S.
- Punishes defendants for the “relevant conduct” of co-conspirators that occurred BEFORE the defendant joined the conspiracy.