Sentencing Disparity

Congress Stood Up for Fairer Sentencing. The Supreme Court Should Too.

By Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project at 3:17pm
Today we filed a friend-of-the-court brief in two Supreme Court cases that deal with the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA), which reduced the disparity between federal mandatory minimum sentences for crack versus powder cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1. As we’ve written before, this was a significant step in the direction of fairness.

Will the Supreme Court Render the Fair Sentencing Act Less Fair?

By Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project & Ezekiel Edwards, Director, ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project at 5:58pm

(Also posted on ACSBlog.)

The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA) is actually only kind of fair. The passage of the 2010 law, which reduced the crack to powder mandatory minimum ratio in federal cocaine sentences from 100:1 to 18:1, was a…

ACLU in NYT: Commutations are Good, Addressing Systemic Injustice is Better

By Will Matthews, ACLU of Northern California at 1:19pm

Borrowed from the British monarchy and codified in the United States Constitution after lively debate at the Philadelphia Convention, the power of pardon and commutation was bestowed upon American presidents because of the recognition that injustices…

Obama's Commutation: A Prelude to Systemic Reform?

By Emma Andersson, Criminal Law Reform Project at 3:21pm

There are hundreds of thousands of Americans serving outrageously long prison sentences for nonviolent drug offenses as a result of our nation’s widely discredited and inhumane "war on drugs." On Tuesday night, President Obama…

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer Gets It (Half) Right

By Dan Zeidman, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 5:57pm

Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer has a lot to say on our country’s criminal system – some good, some bad.

That was clear from a speech he made Tuesday to the American Lawyer/National Law Journal Summit that discussed…

Chance at Freedom: Retroactive Crack Sentence Reductions For Up to 12,000 May Begin Today

Chance at Freedom: Retroactive Crack Sentence Reductions For Up to 12,000 May Begin Today

By Jesselyn McCurdy, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 2:11pm

Today, Hamedah Hasan can finally apply for her freedom.

Hamedah has been locked up for 18 years serving a prison sentence she never deserved.

When she was 21 years old, she and her two daughters escaped an abusive relationship …

A Path Forward to Criminal Justice Policy that Keeps us Safe and Reflects our Values

By Jennifer Bellamy, Washington Legislative Office at 3:48pm

Today, there are over 2.3 million men and women in prisons throughout the United States. We incarcerate more of our population than any country in the world, and the increased incarceration of offenders with drug offenses represents the most significant…

Just Say "No" to the War on Drugs

Just Say "No" to the War on Drugs

By Rachel Myers, ACLU at 3:21pm

June 2011 marked the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon's declaration of a "war on drugs" — a war that has cost roughly a trillion dollars, has produced little to no effect on the supply of or demand for drugs in the United…

Justice Is Served

Justice Is Served

By Laura W. Murphy, Director, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:52pm

Today, the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted to retroactively applying the new Fair Sentencing Act guidelines to individuals sentenced before the law was enacted.

Criminal Sentencing Reform Wins Bipartisan Support in Ohio

Criminal Sentencing Reform Wins Bipartisan Support in Ohio

By Inimai Chettiar, ACLU & Mike Brickner, ACLU of Ohio at 3:41pm

Ohio's legislature has not been the friendliest place for civil libertarians this year. Bills under consideration include the most restrictive photo identification requirements for voters, privatizing six of the state's prisons and some of the …

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