Winds of change: nationwide criminal law reforms, Part 2

We underscored in our immediately preceding blog post at the Bay Area Law Office of John W. Noonan that America’s long-tenured War on Crime is under siege. We noted in our December 12 entry the irony linked with newly emerging systemic reforms being materially driven by some prosecutors across the country.

It is those individuals in California and nationally, after all, who customarily take tough stances and promote harsh sentencing outcomes for criminal defendants. It is largely the work of government attorneys that has led to the country’s overburdened penal system and its insanely high maintenance costs.

Legions of Americans these days now collectively embrace an altered mindset that challenges the assumptions of a clearly flawed “justice” system. An in-depth national article noted in our prior post stresses prosecutors’ key role in driving change.

Indeed, stresses the publication Slate, some of the new prosecutorial pushes are “head-turning.” They include these adjustments sought in various cities across the country:

  • Stays on prosecutions in marijuana possession cases
  • No-bail edicts in lower-level charges (e.g., nonviolent, first-offender cases)
  • Modification of charging decisions, with substituted lower charges skirting harsh mandatory-minimum sentencing outcomes
  • Enhanced efforts to secure alternative-to-prison sentences geared toward offenders’ better community reassimilation

Such changes are informed by a greater public understanding than in times past that the country’s criminal law system has multiple fundamental flaws that desperately need fixing.

The public’s enhanced perception in that regard is clearly underscored in the comment of one ex-federal prosecutor. That individual noted recently that, “Just because you’ve got a big hammer in your toolbox, doesn’t mean you should threaten to use it.”

Indeed, there are often many alternatives to incarceration – both flexible and creative – that can be explored in any criminal case. A passionate and proven defense attorney can optimally pursue them.

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