We are talking about a Senate bill announced last week that could make long-hoped for changes to the sentencing system. The bill was crafted by a bipartisan group of Senators in what commentators have called a rare instance of collaboration. Mandatory sentences for low-level drug crimes have been blamed for ballooning corrections budgets and unprecedented growth in prison population.
There may be hope for Minnesota's nonviolent drug offenders who have been caught in the mandatory minimum sentencing trap. A bipartisan group led by Judiciary Committee chair Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) has introduced a bill that would change some of the more onerous aspects of sentencing for nonviolent drug crimes. Among the provisions is the elimination of the "three-strikes" mandatory life sentence and the introduction of a process that would make early release possible for some inmates.
Are you familiar with the term "civil asset forfeiture?" If not, you're not alone. According to a Huffington Post survey, 72 percent of Americans are completely unaware of the fact that police, in many states, can seize property during criminal investigations, oftentimes keeping it. It's a controversial part of our legal system that many should oppose, which was a point aptly made by comedian John Oliver on his show "Last Week Tonight."
The rise in heroin and prescription drug addiction in recent years has resulted in more arrests of not only people accused of dealing drugs; individuals who are struggling with addiction but would never think of hurting another person have found themselves caught up in the criminal justice system.
Minnesota's new medical cannabis law went into effect on July 1, to the great relief of many sufferers of epilepsy, cancer and other medical conditions. Now, patients able to obtain a doctor's medical certification for a qualifying condition can legally possess and use cannabis-based medicines in oil, pill or liquid form.
In recent months and years, the criminal justice system in the U.S. has been the target of much scrutiny and debate. According to the nonprofit, The Sentencing Project, as of 2013 the U.S. rate of incarnation had increased 500 percent since the 1980s; making the U.S. by far the "world's leader in incarceration with 2.2 million people currently in the nation's prisons or jails."
In cases where an individual faces criminal charges, a criminal defense attorney will always do his or her best to obtain a dismissal of charges. In cases where charges are not dismissed, a defense attorney may attempt to get charges reduced or argue for some type of alternative sentencing program.
In recent months, there's been much debate and discourse among Americans about police officers and use of excessive and deadly force. In an effort to regain the public’s trust and provide for more transparency, many police departments across the U.S. have adopted the widespread use of police body cameras. In Minnesota, respondents of the 2015 Minnesota Chiefs of Police Association revealed that body cameras are currently being used by 41 police departments throughout the state.
In recent years and months, there's been a lot of debate over the actions of law enforcement officials in many U.S. cities and communities. Upon being sworn into service, police officers throughout the country vow to protect and serve everyday citizens. Given the important role that law enforcement officers play in keeping our communities safe, it's critical that they have the trust and respect of those they vow to serve and protect.
Last year, Minnesota became the 22nd state to pass legislation legalizing the medical use of marijuana. In a few short months, on July 1, the law will go into effect and individuals diagnosed with qualifying medical conditions will be able to legally obtain and use the drug in oil, pill or liquid form.