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2009: A Year of Firsts January 31, 2010

Posted by FairSentencing in : Current News , trackback

The following is from Julie Stewart, President of FAMM:

The year is over but when I look back, I feel good about what I see.  2009 was a year marked by several sentencing “firsts” that make me bullish about the future.
1.    Justice Seeks Justice

For the FIRST TIME since the 1980s when unequal mandatory minimums for crack were enacted, the U.S. Justice Department in March announced its opposition to the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.
2. Crack in Cocaine Disparity

For the FIRST TIME in a generation, a committee of the United States Congress acted to eliminate the crack-powder sentencing disparity. The action by the House Judiciary Committee in July was followed by the introduction of a companion bill in the Senate.
3. Not-So-Mandatory Minimums

For the FIRST TIME in more than 30 years, Congress pushed forward a bill that would eliminate mandatory sentencing. This exciting development occurred in July when the U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved a bill championed by FAMM to eliminate the “mandatory” aspect of mandatory minimum sentences.
4. The Right Joins The Fight

For the FIRST TIME since FAMM was founded 19 years ago, conservative leaders testified before Congress in opposition to mandatory sentencing laws.  The witnesses were presidents of two well-known national conservative groups, Americans for Tax Reform and the American Conservative Union. This development was very encouraging as I have long believed that real reform is going to take a bipartisan effort.
5. States Lead The Way

For the FIRST TIME in ages, three states rolled-back mandatory sentencing laws in a single year:  New York’s Rockefeller drug laws took a beating, Rhode Island repealed their mandatory minimum drug laws, and New Jersey will see changes to mandatory school zone penalties within weeks.  In addition, FAMM’s offensive in Massachusetts led to Senate passage of a bill to restore parole – even for those serving mandatory minimums. And most recently, FAMM just launched a campaign for mandatory minimum reform in the State of Florida, home to some of the most egregious mandatory penalties for prescription drug-related crimes.
2009 was indeed a year of many firsts, thanks in large part to your support.  Thank you for fighting alongside us for fair and balanced sentencing.  As we move to 2010, we look forward to making more history together!


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