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Sentencing Guidelines

NEWS
November 30, 2011
Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod J. Rosenstein is warning that a recent revision to the federal sentencing guidelines for crack and powder cocaine possession will lead to the release of hundreds of dangerous criminals onto the streets. But before crying wolf about a new crime wave, he ought to consider federal prosecutors' role in creating what he describes as an impending disaster. The fact is, most of the people currently in prison for drug violations aren't there because they committed violent crimes.
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NEWS
By Andrea F. Siegel and Andrea F. Siegel,andrea.siegel@baltsun.com | December 15, 2009
A 37-year-old Annapolis man was sentenced Monday to 15 years in prison for the second-degree murder of his wife's nephew after the toddler died of head injuries while the man was baby-sitting him. "I don't know what sentence would adequately match this offense, but 15 years doesn't do it," Anne Arundel County Circuit Judge J. Michael Wachs said, as he accepted the agreement prosecutors made with the defense because of witness and proof problems with...
NEWS
By Justin Fenton, The Baltimore Sun | November 28, 2011
Dwuan Dent and Antwan Askia were on opposite sides of an East Baltimore drug turf war in the 1990s that killed at least four people, according to federal prosecutors who charged Dent with murder and conspiracy and Askia with various drug counts. Both were convicted only of drug distribution charges, but because of tough-on-crime guidelines that imposed greater penalties for crack than powder cocaine, Dent was sentenced to more than 17 years in prison and Askia to 20. Now Dent and Askia are among scores of prisoners across the country who are being released early — the beneficiaries of efforts to change those sentencing guidelines that critics say disproportionately affected low-income people and minorities who faced longer prison terms for crack-cocaine charges.
NEWS
February 12, 1996
AMID CRITICISM OF the minimum sentence for a Howard County man convicted of involuntary manslaughter in the 1993 chloroform death of his girlfriend, attention is again focused on the state's judicial sentencing guidelines and on their application.The case poses troubling questions for many who support the concept of sentencing guidelines and the traditional independence of the judiciary. Widespread reaction seemed a mixture of perplexity and outrage at the four-month sentence handed down last month by Circuit Judge Raymond J. Kane Jr. to Melvin R. Bowers, who admitted placing a chloroform-soaked rag over the face of his companion in bed. Victims rights advocates charged that the short jail term reflected a devaluation of human life by the court, and little example for deterrence of future such crimes.
NEWS
By Ian Duncan, The Baltimore Sun | June 29, 2014
A federal appeals court ruling could add to the number of inmates with legal grounds to seek reduced sentences because of a shifting interpretation of sentencing guidelines and what constitutes a violent crime. The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals invalidated last week a 31/2-year sentence for Jose Herbert Henriquez, an El Salvadoran who pleaded guilty to illegally re-entering the United States. The lengthy sentence was based in part on a previous burglary conviction. "A Maryland conviction of first-degree burglary cannot constitute a crime of violence," Judge James A. Wynn Jr. wrote for the majority, remanding the case to a lower court for Henriquez to be resentenced.
NEWS
August 8, 2003
U.S. ATTORNEY GENERAL John Ashcroft likes to trumpet his tough-on-crime credentials - but going after federal judges who depart from federal sentencing guidelines isn't reason to toot his horn. Mr. Ashcroft is among those engaged in an attack on the federal judiciary's independence. Federal prosecutors are now required to report to the boss those judges who mete out sentences lower than the guidelines require, according to a July 28 memo from Mr. Ashcroft to U.S. attorneys. It stems from a new law aimed at curtailing the judges' flexibility.
NEWS
By David G. Savage and David G. Savage,LOS ANGELES TIMES | October 3, 2007
WASHINGTON -- Hearing arguments in a pair of drug cases, the Supreme Court justices said yesterday that they were inclined to give sentencing judges more leeway - but not total freedom - to impose shorter prison terms. In the 1980s, Congress adopted sentencing guidelines that set the range of prison terms for all federal crimes. The stiff guidelines and the mandatory minimum sentencing laws have swelled the prison population. Last year, 181,622 inmates were in federal prisons, up from 24,363 in 1980.
NEWS
December 4, 1991
In fighting crime, there are no quick solutions. Instead of deterring offenders, a federal system of sentencing guidelines introduced in 1987 has produced overcrowded prisons and inequities that should embarrass a country devoted to the ideal of justice for all. As David Simon reported in The Sunday Sun, mandatory sentencing guidelines, together with a series of mandatory sentences for some crimes and the elimination of federal parole, have caused a...
NEWS
By Josh Meyer and Josh Meyer,Tribune Washington Bureau | April 30, 2009
WASHINGTON -The Obama administration signaled a sharp departure Wednesday from 20 years of federal policy and called on Congress to close the huge disparity in prison sentences for those dealing crack versus powdered cocaine, agreeing with critics who say it is unfair to African-Americans. Newly confirmed Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer said the administration believes the so-called mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines are so inherently unfair that they have undermined trust in the country's judicial institutions, particularly among minorities who bear the brunt of the law. Breuer and other witnesses testifying before a Senate Judiciary subcommittee said the policies, launched when authorities feared crack was becoming an epidemic in the mid-1980s, are based on faulty assumptions that have long since been discredited, including that crack users were far more violent and dangerous to the community than powder cocaine users.
NEWS
By MATTHEW DOLAN and MATTHEW DOLAN,SUN REPORTER | May 13, 2006
Richard J. Moore created legal history when he successfully challenged a state law, arguing that a sex offender could not be convicted for soliciting an undercover officer masquerading as a young girl on the Internet. Yesterday, the Howard County man paid a heavy price for his appellate victory. Federal prosecutors took over the case, and a judge sentenced Moore to serve nearly 2 1/2 years in prison for traveling across state lines to have sex with a minor in July 2002. Moore, 39, of Elkridge had been convicted of solicitation charges in Frederick County Circuit Court in 2002 but he was sentenced to time already served in prison.
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