The Basic Principles Of Criminal Defense Attorneys

Federal drug laws produce a labeling issue. When you hear the term "drug trafficker," you might think of Pablo Escobar or Walter White, however the reality is that under federal law, drug traffickers include people who purchase pseudo-ephedrine for their methamphetamine dealer; act as intermediary in a series of small transactions; or perhaps pick up a suitcase for the incorrect buddy. Thanks to conspiracy laws, everybody on the totem pole can be based on the exact same severe necessary minimum sentences.

To the men and females who drafted our federal drug laws in 1986, this might come as a surprise. According to Sen. Robert Byrd, cosponsor of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, the factor to attach 5- and ten-year compulsory sentences to drug trafficking was to punish "the kingpins-- the masterminds who are truly running these operations", and the mid-level dealers.

Fast forward twenty-five years. Today, nearly everybody founded guilty of a federal drug criminal offense is founded guilty of "drug trafficking", which usually leads to a minimum of a five- or ten-year compulsory jail sentence. That's a lot of time in federal prison for many people who are minor parts of drug trade, the large majority of whom are males and females of color.

This is the system that federal district Judge Mark Bennett sees every day. Judge Bennett sits on the district court in northern Iowa, and he manages a lot of drug cases., I would have sent out 1,092 of my fellow citizens to federal prison for necessary minimum sentences varying from sixty months to life without the possibility of release.

The numbers can't communicate the ridiculous tragedy of everything. This is how he explains a current drug trafficking case:

I just recently sentenced a group of more than twenty accused on meth trafficking conspiracy charges. All of them plead guilty. Eighteen were 'pill smurfers,' as federal district attorneys put it, suggesting their role amounted to routinely buying and providing cold medicine to meth cookers in exchange for really small, low-grade amounts to feed their extreme addictions. A lot of were unemployed or underemployed. Numerous were single mothers. They did not offer or directly disperse meth; there were no hoards of money, guns or counter surveillance equipment. Yet all of them dealt with necessary minimum sentences of sixty or 120 months.

They discovered that in 2005, the bulk of the lowest-level drug- and crack-trafficking defendants-- guys and ladies explained as "street-level dealers", "couriers/mules", and "renter/loader/lookout/ enabler/users"-- received five- or ten-year necessary jail sentences. This is especially true for crack-cocaine defendants, many of whom are black; despite the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, selling a little amount of fracture drug (28 grams) carries the very same obligatory minimum sentence-- 5 years-- as offering 500 grams of powder cocaine.

This is the reality for which advocates of serious federal drug laws need to account. We can not pretend that heavy sentences for women like Kemba Smith and men like Jamel Dossie are the fluke errors of overboard laws. We must confess that our sentencing of small players in the drug trade to prison terms implied for the leaders of large drug companies-- as a typical event, not as an exception. As a result, we needlessly lock up great deals of small transgressors for long periods. Judge Bennett decries the human expenses of these sentences:

If lengthy necessary minimum sentences for nonviolent drug addicts in fact worked, one may be able to justify them. I have seen how they leave hundreds of thousands of young children parent less and thousands of aging, infirm and passing away parents childless.

Here, again, we have evidence that Judge Bennett is best: long obligatory sentences are unneeded for a lot of drug transgressors. In 2002 and 2003, Michigan and New York rescinded obligatory sentences for drug culprits and offered judges the power to enforce shorter sentences, probation, or drug treatment.

For decades, Judge Bennett has actually seen a system that doesn't make sense. He has actually seen mandatory laws written for the most major, large-scale drug dealers applied to the men and women on the lowest rungs of the drug trade, and he has seen it happen a lot. We once pictured that severe obligatory sentences would be utilized to deal with the leaders of large drug operations. It's time our federal drug laws were fit to individuals that they truly target.

If you have been charged with a drug related offense and need qualified representation, contact us to discuss your case.


Mace Yampolsky & Associates
625 S 6th St.
Las Vegas, NV 89101
(702) 385-9777

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