Federal Bill Introduced to Eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentences for all Drug Offenses

Legislation to end mandatory minimum sentences for all drug offenses has been filed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The legislation – H.R. 3800 – was introduced by Representative Maxine Walters, a Democrat from California’s 43rd legislative district. It would end the practice of applying mandatory minimum sentences to offenses involving illegal substances. Mandatory minimum sentences require judges to give offenders a specific – and typically harsh – sentence regardless of extenuating circumstances.

Mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes was greatly scaled back under President Obama’s terms as president. However, current President Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently reversed much of the changes made by the Obama Administration regarding mandatory minimums, making Representative Walters’ proposal incredibly important and relevant to the times.

Read moreFederal Bill Introduced to Eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentences for all Drug Offenses

President Obama Calls for Expansive Criminal Justice Reform, Reduction or End to Mandatory Minimums for Drug Offenses

President Obama speeking at the NAACP's 106th annual convention.
President Obama speaking at the NAACP’s 106th annual convention.

During the 106th annual convention of the NAACP, President Obama called for expansive criminal justice reform across the United States.

“Mass incarceration makes our entire country worse off, and we need to do something about it.” said President Obama during the July 14th speech. “In too many cases, our criminal justice system ends up being a pipeline from underfunded, inadequate schools to overcrowded jails.”

Read morePresident Obama Calls for Expansive Criminal Justice Reform, Reduction or End to Mandatory Minimums for Drug Offenses

Pennsylvania Superior Court: Mandatory Minimum Sentences are Unconstitutional

The Pennsylvania Superior Court has ruled that mandatory minimum sentencespenn – including those imposed on nonviolent drug crimes – are unconstitutional, a ruling which will have a large and immediate impact on the state’s legal system.

The court made the ruling as part of a case against a Montgomery County man, James Newman, who received a mandatory 5-year sentence for possession of drugs (cocaine) and a gun. The court vacated the sentence, and called the current practice of mandatory minimum sentencing “unconstitutional”.

Read morePennsylvania Superior Court: Mandatory Minimum Sentences are Unconstitutional