It is about time Eric Holder: Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentence Reform
It makes you wonder what took the Obama administration five years to wake up.
Attorney General Eric Holder announced this week that he will ask his Assistant United States Attorneys ( prosecutors) to not specify the amount of drugs in drug charges for low level drug dealers who are not connected with cartels. The idea is that by not alleging the weight of the drugs, the defendants will not be subject to mandatory sentences of five or ten years.
Mr. Holder apparently realized that since former President Richard Nixon declared the “war on drugs” in 1971, US prison numbers have soared to account for 25% of all the world's prisoners even though it has only 5% of the world's population.
Mark Mauer, executive director of The Sentencing Project, an advocacy group for reform, described Holders proposals as a “significant development” which he hoped would stimulate debate and effect real change.
Around half of the 200,000 people in federal prisons are locked up for drug offenses and about 60% are sentenced under mandatory sentencing provisions, according to Mauer. Around 45% of the 25,000 people incarcerated every year for drug offenses are lower level offenders such as street level dealers and couriers.
In San Diego and Calexico most of the federal drug crimes involve mules who cross the drugs from Mexico to the United States, and sometimes, “blind mules”, those who unknowingly cross drugs into this country.
To date I have not seen any whole scale implementation of the Holder policy. But I have used the Holder statement as negotiating tool in my many San Diego drug cases.
At the Law Offices of Russell Babcock, the lawyers remain up to date on all developments in federal drug cases. As the pre-eminent San Diego criminal defense lawyers of drug and narcotic cases, we will fight for you to help you achieve your goals.
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