Stop Sensenbrenner's New Sentencing Legislation

Help Stop Feeney II! Rep. James Sensenbrenner (R-WI), a proponent of the notorious Feeney Amendment, has introduced legislation to further curtail the sentencing discretion of federal judges. A hearing is set for July 6. The "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Safe Access to Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act" (H.R. 4547) would:

  • Establish draconion mandatory minimum sentences for drug distribution involving persons under 18 years of age. The sale of any quantity of any controlled substance (including anything greater than five grams of marijuana) by a person older than 21 to a person younger than 18 would be subject to a ten-year mandatory minimum sentence; persons 21 years or older convicted a second time of distributing drugs to a person under 18 or convicted a first time after a felony drug offense has become final would receive a mandatory life sentence.

  • Result in a blanket five-year mandatory minimum sentence for distribution of any quantity of any controlled substance in a metropolitan area. The bill increases to five years the federal mandatory minimum sentence for the sale of a controlled substance, of any type or quantity, within 1,000 feet of a school, college, public library, drug treatment facility (or any place where drug treatment, including classes, are held), or private or public daycare facilities -- in short, almost anywhere in cities across the U.S.
  • Unduly restrict the federal "safety valve" to cases in which the government has certified that the defendant pled guilty to the most serious readily provable offense (the one that carries the longest sentence), and has "done everything possible to assist substantially in the investigation and prosecution of another person," and would prohibit the federal "safety-valve" in cases where drugs were distributed or possessed near a person under 18, where the defendant delayed his or her efforts to provide substantial assistance to the government, or provided false, misleading or incomplete information.
  • Eliminate the mitigating role cap under the Federal Sentencing Guidelines for minimal or minor drug offenders.
  • Exacerbate overly harsh sentencing based on drug weight by requiring that a defendant be punished for the conduct of co-conspirators that occurred before the defendant joined the conspiracy.

A hearing regarding this legislation will take place on Tuesday, July 6, before the House of Representative's Crime Subcommittee. Because Congressman Sensenbrenner is the Chair of the House Judiciary Committee and controls the committee's agenda, this legislation poses a serious risk (notwithstanding the Blakely v. Washington decision).

Please contact your representative and ask them to oppose H.R. 4547. Click here for contact information. Thanks to Kyle O'Dowd, NACDL legislative director, for the action alert.

Our prior alert about the bill is here.

< LA Police Chief Criticizes Officers Involved in Videotaped Beating | Spy-der-Man John Ashcroft >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort: