No More Drug War

Tell Congress To Oppose HR 1528

Author: dataminig by freeminder
Date: May 17, 2005
Views: 2585

Drug war extremists in Congress want to throw you in prison for two
years if you fail to turn your neighbor in for committing a
non-violent drug offense. They also want to create mandatory minimum
sentences for EVERY federal offense. E-mail Congress right now.


Please do everything you can to stop H.R. 1528, Defending America\'s
Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection
Act of 2005. H.R. 1528 essentially creates a mandatory minimum for
EVERY federal crime (not just drugs, but also environmental offenses,
campaign finance violations, and other federal crimes). The bill also
increases penalties for many non-violent drug offenses, and creates
new crimes, such as a mandatory 2-year prison term for any college
student that suspects someone is selling marijuana on a college campus
and fails to report it to the police within 24 hours.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission, the American Bar Association, each of
the 11 Federal Judicial Circuits, Supreme Court Justices such as
Justice Kennedy, and innumerable legal scholars widely agree that
mandatory minimums fail to deter crime and make a travesty of justice.
Additionally, mandatory minimums generate glaring racial disparities
in our justice system and contribute greatly to prison overcrowding.

Mandatory minimums take discretion away from judges and place it
solely in the hands of prosecutors who lack the experience and
neutrality of judges. In an environment where prisons become a
catch-all solution for social problems, this practice quickly becomes
unsustainable and unjust. The Supreme Court\'s January Booker/Fanfan
decision that federal judges are not required to adhere to harsh
sentencing guidelines created an opportunity to redress this
injustice.

Instead, HR 1528 perpetuates injustice by making the sentencing
guidelines essentially mandatory, and creating new mandatory minimums
that erode judicial discretion and harm families. For instance, its
expansion of what is considered a �drug-free� zone will ensure that
African-Americans and Latinos continue to get harsh mandatory minimums
sentences while whites that commit the same offenses in rural and
suburban areas get far less time.

Both on the federal level and in many state systems, the intended
target of initial mandatory minimum sentence legislation was drug
\"king pins,\" but the actual impact of this sentencing practice has
missed its target group almost entirely. For instance, the U.S.
Sentencing Commission asserts that only 5.5% of all federal crack
cocaine defendants and 11% of federal drug defendants are high-level
drug dealers, while over 55% are low-level offenders.

H.R. 1528 is so bad that it cannot be fixed. I urge you to oppose it
in its entirety.

http://actioncenter.drugpolicy.org/action/index.asp?step=2&item=26179

Learn More About this Issue

H.R. 1528, Defending America\'s Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug
Treatment and Child Protection Act of 2005, is one of the worse drug
war bills that Congress has ever considered.

Among other things, HR 1528:

--Virtually eliminates the ability of federal judges to give sentences
below the minimum sentence recommended by federal sentencing
guidelines, essentially creating a mandatory minimum sentence for
every federal offense (including both drug and non-drug offenses).

--Expands the federal �three strikes and you�re out� law to include
new offenses, including mandating life imprisonment (with no
possibility of parole) for anyone convicted a third time under the
RAVE Act.

--Mandates a 10-year minimum sentence for anyone 21 or older that
gives marijuana or others drugs to someone under 18 (i.e. a 21 year
old college students gives a joint to his 17-year old brother). A
second offense would be life in prison.

--Expands what is considered to be a �drug-free� school zone to
include almost any place in an urban area, and increases penalties for
selling or distributing drugs in that area. (The result will be
enhanced penalties for people in inner cities, while people in rural
and suburban areas get less time for the same offense).

--Mandates a 5-year minimum sentence for any person that commits a
drug trafficking offense near the presence of a person under 18 or in
a place where such person resides for any period of time. The sentence
is 10 years if they are parent. (I.e. a mother that sells her neighbor
a joint will get a 10-year minimum sentence, even if her kids were at
school at the time).

--Creates a new offense for persons who witness or learn about certain
drug offenses that fail to report the drug offender to the police
within 24 hours or fail to provide full assistance to the police in
tracking and prosecuting the offender. Offenses that would get someone
a 2-year minimum sentence, including failing to report a neighbor that
is storing or selling drugs when that neighbor has kids, failing to
report anyone that gives a joint to someone under the age of 21, and
failing to report a college student that is selling marijuana on a
college campus.

--Mandates a 5-year minimum sentence for any person that offers,
solicits, encourages, or induces a person enrolled in drug treatment,
or previously enrolled in drug treatment, to purchase, possess or
receive drugs.

The full text of H.R. 1528 can be viewed by going to
http://thomas.loc.gov/ , entering �HR1528� in the search box,

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