December 15, 2014
by Jaclyn Belczyk
The US Supreme Court ruled 8-1 Monday in Heien v. North Carolina that a police officer's mistake of law can provide the individualized suspicion that the Fourth Amendment requires to justify a traffic stop. The case involves the arrest of an automobile passenger for cocaine possession after the ...[read more]
October 7, 2014
by Ann Schober
The US Supreme Court heard oral arguments Monday in a case concerning whether a police officer's "mistake of law" should invalidate the officer's justification for a traffic stop. Heien v. North Carolina is a state court case that involves the arrest of an automobile passenger for cocaine ...[read more]
April 21, 2014
by Ann Schober
US Attorney General Eric Holder announced Monday that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is expanding its criteria for recommending clemency to federal prisoners convicted of certain drug crimes. Holder's announcement recapped the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA) that President Barack Obama signed into law ...[read more]
February 13, 2014
by Cynthia Miley
Italy's Constitutional Court on Wednesday struck down a drug law that tripled sentences for selling, cultivating or possessing marijuana. The constitutional court declared the law illegitimate without further elaboration. The cannabis law was blamed for causing Italian prison overcrowding, and an ...[read more]
December 20, 2013
by Bradley McAllister
President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the sentences of eight inmates currently serving lengthly prison terms for crack cocaine offenses, citing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA). The FSA reduced significant disparities in convictions of drug offenses related to crack cocaine and powder ...[read more]
May 19, 2013
by Endia Vereen
The US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit on Friday ruled that people convicted of crack cocaine offenses have a right to resentencing hearings under the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA). The case was brought by two incarcerated defendants seeking retroactive relief from racially discriminatory, 10- ...[read more]
November 1, 2012
by Katherine Bacher
On November 1, 2011, the US Sentencing Commission (USSC) released new guidelines that reduced federal minimum sentencing guidelines for those convicted on charges related to crack cocaine. These new guidelines reduced the sentences of 12,000 inmates and were intended to address the overcrowded ...[read more]
September 28, 2012
by Rebecca DiLeonardo
Drug trafficking and violent crime in Central America and the Caribbean threaten the rule of law in those regions, according to a report released Thursday by the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The report concluded that cocaine trafficking and the associated violence are the main source of ...[read more]
July 9, 2012
by Garrett Eisenhour
On July 9, 2009, a group of federal judges urged the US Sentencing Commission (USSC) to revise the calculations used to determine federal criminal sentences, calling them complicated and mechanical. A few months earlier, US Attorney General Eric Holder had called for a review of disparities ...[read more]
June 21, 2012
by Rebecca DiLeonardo
The US Supreme Court ruled 5-4 Thursday that the Fair Sentencing Act (FSA), which reduces minimum sentences for crack-cocaine convictions, applies to defendants who were sentenced after the act was in place, even if they were arrested before the act took effect. In the combined cases of Dorsey v. ...[read more]

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