Articles Tagged with “Safety Valve”

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And, after a really long break, we’re back. Apologies. This day job has been very busy lately.

And, of course, if you ever find yourself jonesing for my writing, you can always check out my stuff on Above the Law.

You saw our guest post on Hite last week – it’s a great case that bears a close read.

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Jesus Rodriguez took a long time coming to the truth. But in his appeal in United States v. Rodriguez, the D.C. Circuit held that, sometimes, coming to the truth late is coming soon enough.

Mr. Rodriguez was indicted for cocaine distribution. He faced a five-year mandatory minimum.

There Are Two Ways To Get Under A Mandatory Minimum Sentence

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The federal government has powerful tools to keep a person from exercising his constitutional right to go to trial – like crushingly long mandatory minimum sentences.

An aside to illustrate the point

The government’s use of mandatory minimums reminds me of the plea colloquy of a particularly honest client of mine.

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Whenever there is a law that says a person who did a specific thing has to suffer a specific punishment, with no exceptions, there will be an application of that law that ordinary people think is unfair.

In New Jersey, two fourteen-year-olds now have to register as sex offenders for a relatively common locker room prank. A six-year old excited about joining cub scouts was suspended for school for forty days under a zero-tolerance policy because he brought a camping tool to school that included a butter knife.

In federal court, there are mandatory minimums in drug distribution cases. These mandatory minimums produce unfair results. People with minor involvement in cases can be required to serve massive sentences of ten or twenty years, and the judge who imposes that sentence has no lawful ability to go below that amount of time.