Saturday, August 1, 2009

Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing: House of Representatives 3245 Moving Right Along

Good news on the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act (House of Representatives 3245). The bill has made it out of committee and was ordered to be presented to the whole House of Representatives by a 16-9 vote in committee. The Bill would eliminate the 100:1 ratio in mandatory minimum sentencing for cocaine base aka crack cocaine. It is recommended that if you currently are defending crack cocaine cases that involve a mandatory minimum sentence, you defer trial/sentencing until the bill is voted on. For an overview of all bills pending before Congress involving mandatory minimums, check out FAMM, Families Against Mandatory Minimums. There, you can check out the bills to eliminate mandatory minimum sentencing and restore some fairness and justice to the sentencing process.

FAMM had this to say about the House Committee's vote: “Justice won today. Today’s vote represents another step to restoring basic fairness to our sentencing laws and to fulfilling the Constitution’s promise of equal justice under the law. We urge the full House to act quickly on this measure.” Read full press release here.

To keep track of bills in general, check out GovTrack. There you can search and view bills by Representative, subject, or number as well as follow the process and register to track events with email updates or news feeds. For the official government site, check out Thomas.

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