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NEWS
By Norris P. West and Norris P. West,Staff Writer | November 25, 1992
About three dozen relatives and friends of convicted drug offenders marched outside the federal courthouse in Baltimore yesterday, protesting the mandatory minimum prison sentences that give judges little discretion in imposing punishment in drug cases."
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NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | April 27, 2014
It swallowed people up. That's what it really did, if you want to know the truth. It swallowed them up whole, swallowed them up by the millions. In the process, it hollowed out communities, broke families, stranded hope. Politicians brayed that they were being "tough on crime" -- as if anyone is really in favor of crime -- as they imposed ever longer and more inflexible sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. But the "War on Drugs" didn't hurt drugs at all: Usage rose by 2,800 percent -- that's not a typo -- in the 40 years after it began in 1971.
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NEWS
By GREGORY KANE | November 12, 1997
Baltimore City Circuit Judge David Mitchell sat on the panel and uttered -- on this day of media-bashing -- seeming heresy."You have to be sure the media are available to grasp what you do," Mitchell told the gathering at the symposium on sentencing sponsored by the American Judicature Society in San Diego. "The media have a responsibility to educate the public. If you are fair and honest with them, they're going to reciprocate."As if he were determined to drag symposium participants kicking and screaming back to reality, Mitchell continued to be a gadfly, chastising those who thought the main problems with sentences were judges.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | April 27, 2014
The U.S. Justice Department's announcement last week that it would seek clemency applications from thousands of federal prisoners was a major departure for an administration that has made minimal use of its powers to grant inmates early release. But the potential freeing of thousands of inmates is not completely unknown for the federal justice system — and advocates for shorter sentences say experience shows prisoners can be released without harming the public. Previous changes to sentencing rules have led to early release for tens of thousands of inmates serving time for crack convictions.
NEWS
By Norris P. West and Norris P. West,Staff Writer | April 7, 1993
For no-frills drug treatment, federal offenders were sent to X-Cell in Catonsville. The carpets were worn, the mattresses torn, and the 61-year-old stone building felt as archaic as it looked.But the spare surroundings were part of X-Cell's appeal to federal court officials, who relied on the treatment center as a low-cost way to help drug addicts awaiting trial.The Catonsville center shuts down today, leaving many of the addicts with no place to go but jail."There is no comparable place at a reasonable cost," said Morris T. Street Jr., chief pretrial services officer for U.S. District Court in Baltimore.
NEWS
By Dennis O'Brien and Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF | July 16, 1996
The Anne Arundel County state's attorney has received a state grant for a $244,000 program to steer drug offenders away from jail and into treatment programs.State's Attorney Frank R. Weathersbee said the money will pay for six full-time employees to evaluate and oversee about 700 drug offenders charged in the Annapolis and Glen Burnie district courts.He said he received notice yesterday that $183,000 was approved by the governor's office of crime control and prevention. He anticipates approval of another $61,000 in county matching funds in the months ahead to help pay for the program.
NEWS
By David Simon and David Simon,Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics Stiffer U.S. drug sentences: a new deterrent? Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics and Maryland Division of Correction | December 1, 1991
An article in Sunday's editions incorrectly reported that during William Kincaid's February 1989 arrest for an attempted drug purchase at Baltimore Washington International Airport, a gun was recovered from the trunk of Kincaid's car. In fact, the weapon was recovered from Kincaid himself.The Sun regrets the errors.William "Billy" Kincaid holds the receiver tight to his ear to keep out the background noise of an Arkansas prison. Somewhere behind him, a correctional officer is yelling something about the afternoon count.
NEWS
By Kelly Brewington and Kelly Brewington,Sun reporter | March 24, 2007
After a fierce debate in which some lawmakers raised concerns about the effectiveness of the nation's war on drugs, the Maryland House of Delegates defeated by one vote a bill to allow some second-time drug offenders to become eligible for parole. Lawmakers opposing the measure, which failed 68-69, said it would reward drug dealers and gang members while making communities more dangerous. "They are going to get more lenient treatment under the provision of this bill," said Del Anthony J. O'Donnell, the House minority leader from Southern Maryland.
NEWS
By Mike Farabaugh and Mike Farabaugh,SUN STAFF | March 2, 1998
Concerned about three recent drug overdose deaths, including that of a 15-year-old Westminster High School student, a group of Carroll County residents has begun clamoring for stiffer penalties against juvenile drug offenders.The concern has spurred community meetings with state and local police, educators, the state's attorney's office and Junction Inc., a Westminster-based drug abuse treatment and prevention center.Activists who have formed Residents Against Drugs (RAD), a citizen organization that lobbied Wednesday in Annapolis for tougher drug laws, complain that police aren't doing enough to keep drugs out of the county and that, too often, juvenile offenders are given a slap on the wrist and allowed to return to school.
NEWS
By Julie Baughman, The Baltimore Sun | June 15, 2011
Howard County Police arrested 24 individuals at two Phish concerts held at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 11 and 12. All but three of the arrests were made on accounts of drug possession or distribution and three vehicles were seized in accordance with these apprehensions: a 2000 Chevrolet truck, a 2000 Saab and a Honda motorcycle. In addition to the vehicles, police also seized $2,000 in cash as evidence against the charges of drug distribution or possession with the intent to distribute.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan and Timothy M. Phelps, The Baltimore Sun | April 23, 2014
The U.S Justice Department invited thousands of federal convicts on Wednesday to request their release from prison, a measure that could have an outsized effect in Baltimore, where U.S. prosecutors have worked closely with local authorities. The Obama administration's plan is intended in part to lessen harsh sentences handed down under laws enacted amid fears about crack in the mid-1980s but rolled back since then. Judges have reduced many prison terms as drug distribution laws changed, but their powers have been limited by mandatory minimum sentencing rules.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | August 27, 2013
A federal judge reluctantly handed down what she called an "extremely severe and harsh" life sentence without parole Tuesday to a 47-year-old heroin dealer convicted of trafficking the drug from New York to Baltimore. District Judge Catherine C. Blake said she had no choice but to accept the prosecutors' decision to seek the mandatory term, based on Roy Clay's prior convictions and the amount of drugs involved. U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has said his agency will seek to avoid mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenders.
NEWS
August 13, 2013
Attorney General Eric H. Holder's plan to reduce overcrowding in federal prisons by instructing federal prosecutors to stop invoking mandatory minimum sentences against low-level, nonviolent drug offenders was a welcome, if overdue, announcement. The policy's chief shortcoming is that Mr. Holder can't, by himself, correct this long-standing problem. That will require intervention by Congress - as well as by legislatures in states where similar problems exist. That the United States locks up too many people for too long is unquestionably true.
NEWS
By Andre M. Davis | December 8, 2011
I have never met Tony Allen Gregg, a drug abuser and occasional dealer, a 10th-grade dropout and petty criminal. But the details of Mr. Gregg's life - and the life sentence he is now serving - highlight a major problem in our criminal justice system: mandatory minimum sentencing, an offshoot of our misguided "war on drugs. " Federal mandatory minimums, created by an overzealous Congress 25 years ago, require harsh sentences for nonviolent offenders. Such laws do a disservice to the people accused of the crimes, to the judges before whom their cases are reviewed, to communities that are largely poor and black or Latino, and to society.
NEWS
By Julie Baughman, The Baltimore Sun | June 15, 2011
Howard County Police arrested 24 individuals at two Phish concerts held at Merriweather Post Pavilion on June 11 and 12. All but three of the arrests were made on accounts of drug possession or distribution and three vehicles were seized in accordance with these apprehensions: a 2000 Chevrolet truck, a 2000 Saab and a Honda motorcycle. In addition to the vehicles, police also seized $2,000 in cash as evidence against the charges of drug distribution or possession with the intent to distribute.
NEWS
March 8, 2011
As a retired detective, I heartily agree with the Neill Franklin that the "war on drugs" has been a dysfunctional, disastrous policy without benefit ("Save a cop: End the drug war," March 7). Worse, because my colleagues spend so much time chasing drug offenders, we are missing the animals who hurt women and children. Detectives flying around in helicopters are not arresting the pedophiles in Internet chat rooms. Officers searching a car for pot miss the deadly drunk drivers who sail past those stops.
NEWS
By LOS ANGELES TIMES | March 13, 2000
WASHINGTON -- Despite a massive expansion of the nation's drug war, narcotics traffickers and users busted by federal law-enforcement agencies are doing far less time in prison than in years past, according to interviews and new data released yesterday. Researchers at Syracuse University said new statistics suggest that federal authorities are failing to target the most dangerous drug kingpins and the most drug-infested areas, focusing instead on lower-level marijuana crimes. As a result, judges may be meting out shorter sentences -- a result of weaker cases or less serious offenses, the researchers said.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr and By Leonard Pitts Jr | April 27, 2014
It swallowed people up. That's what it really did, if you want to know the truth. It swallowed them up whole, swallowed them up by the millions. In the process, it hollowed out communities, broke families, stranded hope. Politicians brayed that they were being "tough on crime" -- as if anyone is really in favor of crime -- as they imposed ever longer and more inflexible sentences for nonviolent drug offenses. But the "War on Drugs" didn't hurt drugs at all: Usage rose by 2,800 percent -- that's not a typo -- in the 40 years after it began in 1971.
NEWS
By Ronald Fraser | April 15, 2008
During the recent session of the Maryland General Assembly, the House of Delegates rejected a bill that would have given courtroom judges greater sentencing leeway for first-time, nonviolent drug law offenders - including drug treatment programs rather than prison. The bill, sponsored by Del. Curtis S. Anderson of Baltimore, would have been a step in the right direction, but it was defeated for the usual reason: politicians' fear of being labeled "soft on crime." Here's why this kind of sentencing reform makes sense: For 20 years, state legislators dictated rigid prison sentences for people convicted of drug-related offenses - even if presiding judges, after learning the facts in a case, favored lesser punishments.
NEWS
May 14, 2007
In a perfect world, a repeat nonviolent drug dealer who is also a drug user should receive treatment. A bill passed by the General Assembly aims to address this population but provides no additional money for treatment. That's troubling - and it's one of the reasons Gov. Martin O'Malley is threatening a veto. But the solution is not to retreat from a modest sentencing change, it's to allocate more money for drug treatment. Maryland is slowly moving in that direction. A recent study by the Justice Policy Institute, a group that advocates for drug and sentencing reforms, found that admissions to drug treatment through the state's criminal justice system increased by 28 percent from 2000 to 2004, a period that included then-Gov.
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