Washington, DC (April 11, 2014) -- Yesterday, the U.S. Sentencing Commission took another step toward making federal drug sentences more reasonable. The agency approved an amendment that would reduce the guidelines level for most drug offenses by two levels, amounting to an 11-month sentence reduction on average. NACDL applauds the Commission’s action and urges Congress not to obstruct this modest, incremental reduction. Unless Congress rejects the "drugs-minus-2" amendment, which was approved as part of a larger package of amendments, the change would go into effect November 1, 2014. While the lower offense levels would apply only prospectively, the Commission yesterday asked for public comment on whether this change should be made retroactive. NACDL strongly supported the original amendment in its comprehensive comments, and intends to file comments supporting retroactivity.
Addressing the change, NACDL President Jerry Cox said: "This reduction is a modest step towards a more rational and humane sentencing scheme, one that does not substitute cold calculations of drug quantity for full and robust judicial consideration of factors that more accurately reflect culpability."
Unfortunately, ameliorating inappropriately high guidelines will not solve the larger problem: inflexible, draconian and fiscally unsustainable mandatory minimum sentences. This requires congressional action, namely that Congress take up and pass the Smarter Sentencing Act. This bipartisan legislation, approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and also pending in the House, would cut in half mandatory minimum sentences for most drug offenses. It is supported by NACDL, a host of civil and human rights organizations, some law enforcement and prisons guard organizations, several conservative organizations, as well the Department of Justice.
Act now to support the Smarter Sentencing Act
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
Isaac Kramer, Public Affairs and Communications Assistant, (202) 465-7656 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.