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Mandatory Minimum

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By KELLY BREWINGTON and KELLY BREWINGTON,SUN REPORTER | June 15, 2006
Amid the frenzied effort to approve an electricity rate plan, lawmakers appeared close last night to approving an election-year bill aimed at cracking down on convicted sex offenders. The measure would require strict monitoring of sex offenders once they are released from prison and mandatory prison sentences for the worst sexual predators. The General Assembly failed to pass such legislation during the legislative session that ended in April. But the House Judiciary Committee voted unanimously yesterday for a compromise bill, and its Senate counterpart also approved the measure.
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NEWS
By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | February 4, 2014
Democratic gubernatorial candidate Heather R. Mizeur plans to propose what she calls a "transformational" approach to fighting crime on Wednesday, in which she would eliminate mandatory minimum sentences and use the governor's clemency and pardon powers to cut the prison population. Mizeur will introduce a detailed plan calling for a holistic approach to reducing crime, including social and educational programs as well as law enforcement strategies. "We cannot settle on 'tough on crime' after the fact - we need to stop crime before it occurs," she says in a 13-page plan.
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NEWS
by Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | May 29, 2013
A Baltimore Police officer who pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit crimes with one of his informants is asking the judge in his case to keep him out of federal prison. Kendell Richburg, a 13-year veteran, admitted in his plea that he skimmed some of the department funds intended for the informant, and was selling stolen property. Richburg gave the informant drugs and helped him avoid arrest, and the two discussed plans to set up innocent people so Richburg could rack up arrests.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | September 3, 2013
A middle-aged heroin dealer received a mandatory life sentence last week in a federal drug-trafficking case, an outcome his lawyer said was particularly unfair because U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had announced changes in the use of the stiff penalties just two weeks before. The example of Roy Clay, the dealer, points to the complexities of rolling out the new policy and applying it to cases that already ended in a conviction. But statistics compiled by the U.S. Sentencing Commission based on data from fiscal year 2010 suggest that his case may not be typical.
NEWS
June 16, 2006
The General Assembly dealt with more than just electricity rates during this week's special session. In a move that may have mixed benefits, the legislators have come up with a package of harsher requirements and penalties for sex offenders. It includes some mandatory minimum sentences that aren't good policy, and that undermine the entire proposal. Legislators tried to deal with sex offenders during the regular session, but a House-passed bill that included less-forgiving mandatory minimum sentences stalled in the Senate.
NEWS
By Ira Eisenberg | April 2, 1993
I READ somewhere that Janet Reno's mother wrestled alligators. That's really interesting, for by all accounts the new attorney general intends to take on some of the monsters of injustice let loose upon the land by her immediate predecessors.Prominent among them are a host of mandatory minimum sentencing laws that have tied judges' hands, overwhelmed the prisons, vastly increased the cost of government and made a sick joke of justice in this country. If Attorney General Reno really intends to tackle the mandatory minimum monster, alligator wrestling may come to look easy by comparison.
NEWS
By From staff reports | March 16, 2001
Senate votes to block judges from easing mandatory sentences The state Senate unanimously approved a bill yesterday that would prohibit three-judge panels from decreasing the mandatory minimum sentences imposed for using handguns during felonies or crimes of violence. Judicial panels have the authority to change the sentences of convicted inmates, though mandatory minimum sentences may not be decreased unless the panel's decision is unanimous. Of the more than 100 cases heard last year, six sentences were decreased.
NEWS
February 3, 2009
Social service 'angels' saved relative in need I am writing to let the taxpayers of Baltimore know that their money is being well-spent. I live in Virginia, and as a result of circumstances I never thought would occur in my family, I needed to enlist the services of ombudsmen at the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education (CARE) and at Maryland's Adult Protective Services agency. I found that Luis Navas-Migueloa, a long-term care ombudsman at CARE, and Joyce Brown and Sharon Donnelly of Adult Protective Services are angels in disguise.
NEWS
By Gail Gibson and Gail Gibson,SUN STAFF | October 7, 2003
A former Glen Burnie resident convicted on a rare charge of pornography production was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison yesterday - a mandatory minimum sentence that his attorney complained failed to recognize details about the crime or defendant that could argue for a lighter punishment. Gordon Elliott Thomas III, 29, pleaded guilty in June to one count of producing child pornography. Thomas, who most recently has lived with his mother and stepfather in Connecticut, admitted that he had videotaped a 9-year-old female neighbor - whom he sometimes cared for - in Glen Burnie after pulling down her underwear as she slept.
NEWS
By Phil Gramm | July 9, 1993
TWO federal judges recently announced that they would refuse to take drug cases because they oppose mandatory minimum sentences.One judge, Jack Weinstein of Brooklyn, N.Y., confessed to a "sense of depression about much of the cruelty I have been party to in connection with the war on drugs." (See column above.)The other, Whitman Knapp of Manhattan, heartened that President Clinton "has not committed himself to the war on drugs in such a way as the Republican administration had," hoped his action would influence the president to abandon tough mandatory sentencing.
NEWS
By Matt Kaiser | August 25, 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder announced recently that the United States' practice of locking up so many of its citizens has to stop. News outlets almost uniformly reported that Mr. Holder was drastically limiting the application of mandatory minimum sentences. But when you look at the details of what Mr. Holder's plan is, it's not going to do much of anything to change the alarming rate at which we throw people in federal prison. As the attorney general said, we have 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prisoners.
NEWS
August 16, 2013
Many of us have been saying for years that we are not going to arrest our way out of our nation's drug problem, so I totally support the change of philosophy and policy about sentencing certain drug offenders ( "Minimal reform on mandatory sentencing," Aug. 14). I would like to caution both the public and our criminal justice system that just changing sentencing policies does not mean we have solved anything. As a former addict, I can tell you that most low level drug dealers are also addicted to drugs themselves.
NEWS
By Leonard Pitts Jr | August 15, 2013
It's been a war on justice, an assault on equal protection under the law. And a war on families, removing millions of fathers from millions of homes. And a war on money, spilling it like water. And a war on people of color, targeting them with drone strike efficiency. We never call it any of those things, though all of them fit. No, we call it the War on Drugs. It is a 42-year, trillion-dollar disaster that has done nothing -- underscore that: absolutely nothing -- to stem the inexhaustible supply of, and insatiable demand for, illegal narcotics.
NEWS
Dan Rodricks | August 12, 2013
Attorney General Eric Holder's announcement - that low-level drug offenders with no history of violence and no ties to gangs will no longer face severe, mandatory federal prison sentences - is the first step in returning sanity and integrity to a justice system commandeered nearly 30 years ago by grandstanding, overzealous politicians. But it comes way too late for the 20-year-old drug slinger featured in one of Judge Andre Davis's war stories. Davis, from Baltimore, sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit.
NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun | July 11, 2013
Authorities are warning that a ruling by Maryland's highest court could take away a powerful weapon in the fight against crime: the state's mandatory five-year, no-parole sentence for gun possession by certain convicted felons. The Court of Appeals ruling in a Baltimore case erased a defendant's mandatory sentence and ordered him resentenced under a more lenient provision of the law. City officials decried the ruling, which comes as Baltimore is grappling with a flareup of gun violence that has left dozens wounded and 23 dead in the past three weeks.
NEWS
by Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | May 29, 2013
A Baltimore Police officer who pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit crimes with one of his informants is asking the judge in his case to keep him out of federal prison. Kendell Richburg, a 13-year veteran, admitted in his plea that he skimmed some of the department funds intended for the informant, and was selling stolen property. Richburg gave the informant drugs and helped him avoid arrest, and the two discussed plans to set up innocent people so Richburg could rack up arrests.
NEWS
By David G. Savage and David G. Savage,LOS ANGELES TIMES | June 12, 2007
WASHINGTON -- The Supreme Court agreed for the first time yesterday to reconsider the long prison terms meted out to the mostly black defendants who are convicted of selling crack cocaine. At least 25,000 defendants per year are sent to federal prison on crack-cocaine charges, and their prison terms are usually 50 percent longer than drug dealers who sell powder cocaine. This disparity, with its racial overtones, has been controversial for two decades since Congress ramped up the "war on drugs" in response to a crack-cocaine epidemic that was sweeping many cities.
NEWS
March 14, 2007
Despite some progress, Maryland's mandatory minimum sentences are still too harsh, particularly on African-American defendants, and they don't allow enough low-level drug offenders to get treatment, which would be more helpful to them and to the public, according to a recent policy study. Legislation pending in the General Assembly would help address these concerns and deserves to be passed. Like many states, Maryland has relied on firm, fixed punishments as an effective way to fight crime.
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
February 3, 2009
Social service 'angels' saved relative in need I am writing to let the taxpayers of Baltimore know that their money is being well-spent. I live in Virginia, and as a result of circumstances I never thought would occur in my family, I needed to enlist the services of ombudsmen at the Baltimore City Commission on Aging and Retirement Education (CARE) and at Maryland's Adult Protective Services agency. I found that Luis Navas-Migueloa, a long-term care ombudsman at CARE, and Joyce Brown and Sharon Donnelly of Adult Protective Services are angels in disguise.
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