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Will current presidential administration move on sentencing reform?

Criminal law charging and sentencing particulars in the federal realm merit pronounced emphasis in any defense firm’s blog posts, and we unquestionably give them due regard at the Bay Area Law Office of John W. Noonan.

We defend diverse clients against a wide universe of federal charges, noting some common ground that routinely attaches to all of them.

First, the filing of federal charges is almost always preceded by painstaking background investigative work. Federal task forces and prosecutors have flatly deep pockets and seemingly inexhaustible resources to work with.

And second, there is a strong likelihood in any given matter that authorities will push for sentencing outcomes that are often far harsher than what results in state criminal cases.

That latter point is strongly buttressed in one national article that underscores the severity in outcomes meted out to many low-level offenders charged with drug crimes. That heavy-handed sanctions have prevailed in legions of cases in past decades is not debatable. The proof is in the numbers; federal prisons are stuffed with first-time nonviolent drug offenders who are often confined for life without any possibility of parole.

That sad reality is being increasingly recognized and argued against in growing bipartisan fashion across the country, including among conservative lawmakers and officials who have customarily endorsed notably punitive tough-on-crime approaches. The above-cited article is notable for its spotlighting of the seeming receptivity of President Trump toward greater leniency in federal drug-crimes sentencing.

At times, that piece stresses, the president “looks as if he is ready to make the plunge.”

If he does, the broad conservative coalition that follows his lead could join together with more mainstream groups to promote truly meaningful sentencing reform across a broad spectrum.

Many millions of Americans would avidly welcome that development.

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