Rand Paul jumps the aisle to introduce drug legislation which reduces federal sentencing guidelines. Is this the winning strategy to capture the younger “druggy” voter and secure trial attorney campaign contributions?
It appears that Rand Paul believes that it is beneficial for America to relax the current drug sentencing guidelines under federal law. One unintended consequence may be to put more petty thieves and dangerous drivers on the street – as well as step-up the need for politically-connected attorneys to allow “rich” people to skirt the law. Read the press release for yourself.
Bipartisan Legislation To Give Judges More Flexibility For Federal Sentences Introduced . . . Bill Would Expand ‘Safety Valve’ To All Federal Crimes
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT and Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) introduced bipartisan legislation Wednesday to allow judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment is considered unnecessary.
The bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 expands the so-called “safety valve” that allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases to all federal crimes. By giving judges this greater flexibility, they will not be forced to administer needlessly long sentences for certain offenders, which is a significant factor in the ever-increasing Federal prison population and the spiraling costs that steer more and more of the justice budget toward keeping people in prison, rather than investing in programs that keep our communities safe.
“As a former prosecutor, I understand that criminals must be held accountable, and that long sentences are sometimes necessary to keep criminals off the street and deter those who would commit violent crime,” Leahy said. “Our reliance on mandatory minimums has been a great mistake. I am not convinced it has reduced crime, but I am convinced it has imprisoned people, particularly non-violent offenders, for far longer than is just or beneficial. It is time for us to let judges go back to acting as judges and making decisions based on the individual facts before them. A one-size-fits-all approach to sentencing does not make us safer.”
Paul said that “Our country’s mandatory minimum laws reflect a Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all approach, which undermines the Constitutional Separation of Powers, violates the our bedrock principle that people should be treated as individuals, and costs the taxpayers money without making them any safer. This bill is necessary to combat the explosion of new federal criminal laws, many of which carry new mandatory minimum penalties.”
Statement of Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee, On the Introduction of S. 619, the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013
March 20, 2013
Today I join with Senator Paul to introduce the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013, which will start to take on the problem of the ever-increasing Federal prison population and spiraling costs that spend more and more of our justice budget on keeping people in prison thereby reducing opportunities to do more to keep our communities safe. This bill will combat injustice in Federal sentencing and the waste of taxpayer dollars by allowing judges appropriate discretion in sentencing.