Johnson and Presidential Campaign Setting the Stage for Sentence Relief
By Derek Gilna
Three things came to my attention this week. First, the Johnson case is a keeper; courts are using it with little of the hesitancy and generally associated with the judicial system, for an often overlooked reason. Secondly, it looks like the Presidential campaigns are getting involved in the issue of sentence relief. Finally, Congress is starting to show signs of moving ahead on the same issue.
As to Johnson, one must remember that judges, including the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court, rarely want to be ground-breakers in their decisions. They are very thin-skinned when it comes to criticism. The Supreme Court gave big hints in recent prisoner-related decisions, such as Alleyne, on how it wanted the circuits to rule on certain issues, but the lower courts didn’t follow through. In the Fair Sentencing Act, lower courts once again had a golden opportunity to release larger numbers of people, but didn’t grant relief nearly as often as it was deserved. However, the Johnson case now gives them a non-controversial way to cut sentences without Congress or law enforcement bodies criticizing them, and there has been zero criticism of these sentence cuts.
Secondly, Bernie Sanders (my favorite socialist), has sharply criticized the punitive American justice system, and has said when Congress returns from recess, “I will be introducing legislation, which takes corporations out of profiteering from running jail.” He added: “We want to deal with (mandatory) minimum sentencing,” and want to legalize marijuana, which will drive the DOJ crazy. Although no one (yet) thinks Sanders will win nomination, he is driving the discussion on justice and gaining support as a result, which leads to my last point.
Congress is full of people who make their living doing nothing but talking, and getting paid well for it (kind of like other people we know, right?). When Sanders, Rand Paul, Clinton, and the US Sentencing Commission talk about justice reform, and even Senator ((Mandatory-Minimum) Grassley is planning to hold hearings this Fall on the new legislation, you’ve got to think something good will happen, and happen soon.
In the meantime,
will continue to file for sentence relief, be it with a 2255 habeas corpus,
with a 2241 for actual innocence or sentence correction, with a federal civil
rights complaint for poor medical treatment or compassionate release, or with a
letter or phone call to handle other matters like transfers and other services. Federal
Federal Legal Center, Inc., an
not-for profit corporation, Illinois