Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Mandatory Minimums

This morning at 10 am Eastern:

Reevaluating the Effectiveness of Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Witness List

  • The Honorable Rand Paul, United States Senator, State of Kentucky
  • The Honorable Brett Tolman, Shareholder, Ray Quinney & Nebeker, Salt Lake City, UT
  • Marc Levin, Policy Director, Right on Crime Initiative at the Texas Public Policy Foundation, Austin, TX
  • The Honorable Scott Burns, Executive Director, National District Attorneys Association, Alexandria, VA

Note that Scott Burns has been added to the list. He’s likely to be a challenge to the hearing.

Of course, this is an interesting hearing as it focuses on the conservative arguments for sentencing reform. Something that’s good to see in the Senate.

This is an open thread.

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14 Responses to Senate Judiciary Committee Hearing on Mandatory Minimums

  1. Daniel Williams says:

    It’s a funny world when reducing drug sentences, even cutting them in half, is considered progress. Once you’ve been arrested and convicted of a drug offense and forced into the criminal justice system, does getting 3 years instead of 6 really matter, once your time is served? Your life opportunities are pretty much diminished at that point, regardless.

    And the sad thing is, drug policy reformers will cheer this and pat themselves on the back for a job well done. For 40+ years now drug policy reformers have been saying that we’re in a long struggle – and begging money to keep it going. I’m well aware my view that drug policy reform has been misguided for those 40+ years is contrarian and even heretical, but in the sober light of day no other conclusion can be formed.

    President Obama is a failure on a number of levels, but few lack the unmitigated hypocrisy of his drug pronouncements and policies. And, for the most part, Ethan et al. have given him a pass. I remember when they told us to be patient, that Obama was too busy in his first term to address drug policy reform, and that things would drmatically improve during his second. Right. It’s time to hold them responsible too, and demand that, if they believe they speak for us, they listen to us.

  2. Jean Valjean says:

    I can just imagine Geocorp and Corrections Corp (funny how they use the military term Corp)standing by the Senate door handing out “packed lunches” in brown paper bags…

  3. thelbert says:

    here’s something o/t: uppity indians show the world how the police state works.

  4. claygooding says:

    It is going to be hard too dismantle any part of the drug war machine,,too many rich people and legislators have stocks in every cog.

  5. Goblet says:

    I guess Intuit is going to pay for a superbowl ad to the company or cause that get the most clicks on their poll. NORML threw their hat in, just in case you want to vote for them. You can vote once a day. Here is the link:

    Here is the text from the NORML email:

    Help Put the Message of Marijuana Legalization Before Millions with a NORML Super Bowl Ad

    Intuit Quickbooks is currently running a contest, with the grand prize being a professionally produced ad run during the big game this year. The first round of the contest is public voting and we are pleased to say NORML, after just a few short days, has skyrocketed to the #6 most popular submission.

    Together, we the people, are ending America’s war on pot. With the last election and with the recent announcement from the attorney general in Washington DC, we are beautifully positioned to make sure a responsible, adult American citizen is never again arrested for the use of recreational marijuana.

    But this doesn’t just happen. Please take a moment of your time to support our campaign to bring the message of legalization to the masses during the most watched TV program of the year.

    The voting process is simple. Click the link below and you will be taken to NORML’s entry. Click “Vote for Us” and you’re done (no login, no Facebook connect). Then share with your family and friends via your social media pages. Don’t forget that you can vote once a day. Together we can make marijuana legalization a topic of conversation at every game watching party across the country!

    If you vote, we will win.

  6. Servetus says:

    The drug revolution is in the air. At least that’s the case in Bologna, Italy, and a few other places where the particulate count of nanogram and picogram quantities of cocaine, cannabinoids, caffeine and nicotine have become part of the air quality index being studied by the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research at the National Research Council in Rome.

    Homeopaths, along with people who don’t know how small nanograms or picograms are, appear highly concerned.

  7. primus says:

    So did I detect a collective yawn when the DoJ announced their hands-off approach to Colorado and Washington?

    • claygooding says:

      Who can get excited about a memo that could be put in a shredder tomorrow,,,the day they take marijuana arrests from the federal grants program will be the day to break out the bongs. When they move cannabis from schedule 1 it will be time to have a big meet-up party.

    • darkcycle says:

      Essentially, yeah. It was Ogden v.2. It all sounds fine and dandy ’till you get to the last paragraph, and then realize it has all the legal weight of a helium balloon.

  8. primus says:

    I meant in the sense that the usual hand-wringers were not visible. It doesn’t matter, in a way, that the memo is BS; what matters is that it has the outward appearance of something meaningful, yet even so, there was not the gnashing of teeth and the rending of garments we have come to expect. This lack of hysteria will be noted, and might make some timid persons a little less timid. It is by baby steps such as these that success is achieved.

  9. DdC says:

    Drug War Rolls On With 1.5 Million Arrests Last Year

    ACLU National ‏@ACLU
    Hoover’s ghost still roams the #FBI. @ACLU report:
    Unleashed & Unaccountable:
    FBI’s Unchecked Abuse of Authority

  10. DdC says:

    One Disturbing Reason For Our Exploding Prison Population (INFOGRAPHIC)

    PAUL: The devastating collateral damage of an insidious drug-war weapon
    If I told you that in America almost 1 million black Americans were forever forbidden from voting, you might think I was talking about Jim Crow 50 years ago, but you would be wrong. According to the Sentencing Project, a staggering number of nonviolent individuals who have been released from prison, are not on probation or parole and who have committed no further crimes, are forever prohibited from voting.

    Prison Quotas Push Lawmakers To Fill Beds, Derail Reform
    After three violent inmates escaped from an Arizona private prison in July 2010, prompting a two-week, multi-state manhunt, state corrections officials demanded improvements and stopped…

    California Prison Guards Union Pushes For Prison Expansion
    Two decades ago, the California prison guards union was one of the most feared political forces in the state. Its members poured millions into the…

    NJWeedman Sent Back to Jail
    POT TV – Cannabis Culture News LIVE
    In this episode: Vocal New Jersey marijuana activist Ed Forchion, also known as NJWeedman, is headed back to jail on pot related charges. We talk to NJWeedman in his last interview before being locked up!

    • DdC says:

      Private prisons demand states maintain maximum capacity or pay fees

      Republican bill would kick 170,000 veterans off of food stamps

      House GOP Passes Food Stamp Cuts
      On Thursday, House Republicans passed sweeping cuts to the nation’s food stamp program, reducing spending by $40 billion over 10 years and imposing new work requirements. The Congressional Budget Office says measure would strip nearly four million people of food stamp benefits starting next year, followed by another three million for every year after. In a speech on the House floor, Democratic Rep. Jackie Speier of California held up steak, vodka and caviar to mock Republicans who want to cut food stamps while charging expensive meals to taxpayers during trips overseas.

      Rep. Jackie Speier: “In my district, California 14, we have about 4,000 families who are on food stamps, but some of my colleagues have thousands and thousands more. Yet, they somehow feel like crusaders, like heroes when they vote to cut food stamps. Some of these same members travel to foreign countries under the guise of official business. They dine at lavish restaurants, eating steak, vodka and even caviar. They receive money to do this. That’s right, they don’t pay out of pocket for these meals.”

      The House measure sets up a showdown with the Senate and likely will delay passage of a new farm bill until at least next year.

      Oh, now they whine about the mean old Neocons…

      June 04, 2001

      Food Stamps Become a Weapon in the War on Drugs

      Under a punitive last-minute floor amendment written into the 1996 welfare reform act by Sen. Phil Gramm, R-Texas, anyone convicted of a felony drug violation will be denied food stamps and certain other federal benefits for life.

      (Rapists and murderers are subject to no such penalties; nor are welfare cheats.)

      That makes treatment and rehabilitation that much tougher, both for the offender and her family.

      Where are all of the Taxbaggers and Norquest?
      ☛Tax paid Drug War Industry
      ☛Tax paid Military Industry
      ☛Tax paid Detention Industry
      ☛Tax paid Education vs. Incarceration
      ☛US Universities
      ☛A kinder, gentler fascism
      ☛Exporting DEAmocracy

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