Last month, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee unanimously approved H.R. 3713, the Sentencing Reform Act, bringing the country one step closer toward federal sentencing reform. Approximately 77 percent of the public support eliminating mandatory minimums for nonviolent offenders to address prison overcrowding and save taxpayer funds.
Within the coming months, Congress will likely make several changes to this initial version of the act, but the basic provisions so far are as follows:
- The mandatory life without parole sentence for third drug offense will be reduced to a minimum term of 25 years
- The mandatory minimum sentence for a second drug offense will be reduced from 20 years in prison to a minimum of 15 years in prison
- The types of prior convictions that expose drug offenders to these minimum sentences will be expanded
- The “drug safety valve” exception will be expanded, allowing certain nonviolent drug offenders with non-serious criminal histories to receive sentences below the mandatory minimum sentence
- The Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) will be made retroactive, which will allow previous crack cocaine offenders sentenced prior to August of 2010 to seek resentencing
- The 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for certain gun possession crimes by offenders with criminal history will be reduced to 10 years
- The 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for those with multiple drug possession offenses related to drug trafficking will be reduced to 15 years
- Data collection and reporting to the U.S. Sentencing Commission and the U.S. Department of Justice will be required on all mandatory minimum sentences
Some of these provisions are set to be retroactive for some people, which means that certain people serving time for non-violent drug crimes may be eligible for resentencing if and when this Act is signed into law. Read more about this story online via The Hill.
For more information on sentencing reform and how a Los Angeles criminal defense attorney can help you fight your charges, please call Lessem & Newstat, LLP at (800) 462-7160.