Open Thread

Held Hostage


Artist – John Darkow

The Eric Holder Justice Department continues to make good on its promise to clamp down on mandatory sentencing.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration on Thursday expanded its effort to curtail severe penalties for low-level federal drug offenses, ordering prosecutors to refile charges against defendants in pending cases and strip out any references to specific quantities of illicit substances that would trigger mandatory minimum sentencing laws. [...]

The policy applies to defendants who meet four criteria: their offense did not involve violence, the use of a weapon, or selling drugs to minors; they are not leaders of a criminal organization; they have no significant ties to large-scale gangs or drug trafficking organizations; and they have no significant criminal histories.

This is a far bigger deal than anyone in the media is going to give it credit for. And it’s unprecedented. In the past the status quo has been to push for harsher sentencing, not lesser.

  • Bob Rutledge

    Not to worry, wingnut DAs all over the country will simply introduce “evidence” showing gang/trafficking connections.

    They have quotas (and coffers) to fill, after all.

  • chris ellis

    sanity and context entered into drug sentencing. what a concept!

  • Schneibster

    Republicans always say they’re for smaller government, but they keep increasing crimes and sentences and building more prisons.

    • Nefercat

      So true. Mind you, there is no connection between these republican action items and privatized prison systems. Is there?

      • IrishGrrrl

        I know you are being sarcastic but there is a connection it’s as plain as day. Just one example …the head of Gov. Jan Brewer’s last campaign was a former lobbyist for the private prison industry who has expanded their control of AZ penitentiaries. I used to know, personally, some of the original investors in CCA. I periodically rail against the privatization of prisons and the punishment powers of the government on my blog. If I could make a living investigating this industry, I would. It is one of the pillars of corporatocracy (so?) and we ignore it at our peril.

        • Schneibster

          I cannot imagine lobbying to ensure there are more convicted criminals. It’s evil.

          • Bob Rutledge

            When there are for-profit prisons, convicts are product. More product, more profit.

          • Schneibster

            You’d think we’d’ve learned by now about encouraging parasites to grow by giving them money to spend on politics.

          • IrishGrrrl

            Completely agree. There’s something deeply disturbing to me about privatizing prisons. If the state has any one power that should be sacrosanct, it should be the ability to deprive someone of their liberty. With government we at least have some say, some input. But profit driven vultures cannot be swayed by anything other than “competition” and the almighty dollar. This goes along with with Bob has been saying in regards to our privacy and spying–I fear corporations MUCH more than I fear our representative government. To a corporation, I’m a bean to be counted, not a person with rights.

          • Schneibster

            Not only that but now one is their cash cow; it’s to their advantage to report you’re “being bad” so they can hold onto their meal ticket a bit longer.

            Unregulated capitalism is hell.

  • feloniousgrammar

    I had the misfortune of having to spend some time with five wingnut veterans recently. One had ideas about what to spend money on instead of spending money attacking Syria. I said that Holder has been working on all those things. Guffaws all around. Then another guy said that Holder is a liar. I asked him what Holder has lied about. He said, “Everything.”

    This is huge. It’s obvious that it will save money, time, and lives. It will have a great impact on communities that have been torn apart too much, for too long by mandatory minimums.
    I love this guy.