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  #1  
Old 01-05-2003, 09:55 PM
KConnor56 KConnor56 is offline
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Default Doing away with Mandatory Minimum

Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences Toppled in Michigan
U.S. Newswire
27 Dec 16:00
Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentences Toppled in Michigan; Gov. Engler
Signs Bills That End Quarter-Century of 'Failed Sentencing Policy'
To: National Desk
Contact: Monica Pratt of Families Against Mandatory Minimums,
202-822-6700
Laura Sager, 202-549-3548 (cell)
LANSING, Mich., Dec. 27 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Gov. John Engler
ended Michigan's failed experiment with mandatory minimum drug
sentences when he signed historic legislation repealing the laws on
December 25. Public Acts 665, 666 and 670 of 2002 eliminate most
of the state's Draconian mandatory minimum sentences for drug
offenses. Judges can now use sentencing guidelines to impose
sentences based on a range of factors in each case, rather than
solely drug weight, and lifetime probation for the lowest-level
offenders has been replaced with a five-year probationary period.
Earlier parole is now possible for some prisoners, at the
discretion of the parole board.
Laura Sager, executive director of Families Against Mandatory
Minimums (FAMM), a nonprofit organization that spearheaded the
drive for reform said, "We are very grateful to Governor Engler for
his support of this important legislation, which brings a
quarter-century of failed sentencing policy to a close. Harsh
mandatory minimums, originally intended to target drug "king pins"
warehoused many nonviolent, low-level drug offenders at a very high
cost to taxpayers. Now judges can use their discretion under
sentencing guidelines to more closely fit the punishment to the
crime and the offender."
"This change is being closely examined by states across the
country as they grapple with the unintended consequences of their
own mandatory minimum sentences," said Sager.
"This historic act is also a victory for a grassroots movement
for justice," said Sager. "It is the culmination of years of
grassroots lobbying efforts by thousands of FAMM members affected
by mandatory minimums that were among the harshest in the nation.
These families brought the human face of sentencing injustices to
lawmakers and convinced member of both parties that change was
urgently needed," said Sager.
Rep. Bill McConico (D-Det.), sponsor of the bills said, "This
major step brings fairness back to the judicial system in Michigan.
The overwhelming bipartisan support for this legislation shows it
is not a partisan issue. We were able to unite Republicans,
Democrats, prosecutors, judges and families in the common cause of
sentencing justice. Now we can reunite families, reallocate
resources and allow judges to do their job."
The bills garnered widespread support from organizations as
diverse as the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan, the
Michigan Judges Association, the Michigan Association of Drug Court
Professionals, the Michigan Catholic Conference, Michigan's
Children, and the NAACP (Detroit Branch), among many others.
"Michigan's prosecutors recognize that an effective drug policy
is a combination of criminal justice strategies, readily available
drug treatment programs, incarceration where appropriate, and
prevention activities in schools, businesses, and homes," said
David Morse, president of the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of
Michigan. "That is why we support a responsible approach to
replacing the mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes with
sentences that are appropriate for the crime."
The reforms also had the strong support of former Michigan
Republican Gov. William G. Milliken, who called signing mandatory
minimum drug sentences into law in 1978 "the worst mistake of my
career" and campaigned for their repeal.
In 1998, Families Against Mandatory Minimums led a successful
drive to relax the "650 Lifer Law," the toughest drug law in the
nation. That law mandated life without parole for anyone convicted
of delivery or conspiracy to deliver 650 grams or more of heroin or
cocaine.
Analysis of the Michigan sentencing reform laws are posted at
http://www.famm.org. If you are a reporter and would like to speak
to Laura Sager, FAMM executive director, or other groups supporting
the reforms, please contact Monica Pratt, FAMM director of
communications, at (202) 822-6700 or monica@famm.org. FAMM also
has case profiles on Michigan prisoners.
http://www.usnewswire.com
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/U.S. Newswire 202-347-2770/
12/27 16:00
Copyright 2002, U.S. Newswire
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  #2  
Old 01-06-2003, 05:35 AM
flygirlaa2 flygirlaa2 is offline
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Thank god, maybe a beginning!
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  #3  
Old 01-06-2003, 09:38 AM
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lulu lulu is offline
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It is about time. Maybe that will open up some doors.
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Old 01-06-2003, 10:14 AM
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Let's hope the pendulum is swinging..............

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