Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Maryland's Justice Reinvestment Act opens door to sentence reconsideration for many drug convicts.

With the newly enacted Justice Reinvestment Act those convicted of certain drug related crimes may seek reconsideration of their mandatory minimum sentences. The issue is explained well in this September 30, 2017 Baltimore Sun excerpt:

Eighty-one percent of those sentenced in Maryland to a mandatory minimum between 2013 and 2014 were black, according to a report of the Justice Reinvestment Coordinating Council, a state panel that studied options for criminal justice reform.
“The concept that the system can jail its way out of a drug scourge has been shown to be a massive failure,” Maryland Public Defender Paul DeWolfe said.

DeWolfe, whose office is expected to handle the vast majority of the motions, added that many people pleaded guilty to crimes “for fear that [they would] end up with a mandatory sentence” if they went to trial.

Before Sunday, repeat offenders of drug dealing crimes were subject to mandatory sentences with no chance of parole: 10 years for second-time offenders, 25 years for third-time offenders and 40 years for fourth-time offenders.

The new law repeals those minimums, and allow those already serving them to seek shorter sentences.

Most of those now eligible for reconsideration — roughly 80 percent — are serving 10-year sentences, according to the public defender’s office.

If you or a family member may be eligible for reconsideration of a mandatory minimum sentence already imposed, fill out the contact form on this page.  Ian Valkenet may be able to help!