Sentencing News

FAMM has resources and contacts to assist the media with reporting on mandatory minimum sentences and their effects on the country. Media inquiries should be directed to


September 20, 2013

U.S. Orders More Steps to Curb Stiff Drug Sentences

(New York Times) — The Obama administration on Thursday expanded its effort to curtail severe penalties for low-level federal drug offenses, ordering prosecutors to refile charges against defendants in pending cases and strip out any references to specific quantities of illicit substances that would trigger mandatory minimum sentencing laws. The move, announced by Attorney General… Read more »

September 19, 2013

Presumed guilty: Libertarians join liberals to fight ‘unjust’ mandatory minimums

(MSNBC/Presumed Guilty with Ari Melber) — When Eric Holder announced new policies to reduce harsh prison sentences for non-violent offenders in August, an unusual pol had his back.  Calling mandatory minimums “one of the most unjust federal policies of our time,” Sen. Rand Paul heralded the Obama administration’s move, arguing that reform should be a… Read more »

September 19, 2013

Rand Paul is Right About the Injustice of Mandatory Drug Minimums

(Forbes/Julie Stewart quoted) — Toward the end of a hearing at which the Senate Judiciary Committee heard about the jaw-dropping injustices caused by mandatory minimum sentences, John Cornyn sounded a note of caution. “We have to be careful not to legislate by anecdote,” said the Republican senator from Texas. Why start now? Congress spends much of its time… Read more »

September 19, 2013

Winds of Change

(New York Times) — Back in 1991, the Supreme Court upheld a Michigan man’s prison sentence of life without the possibility of parole for possessing more than 1.5 pounds of cocaine. The sentence did not represent the third strike of a three-strikes law: the prisoner, Ronald A. Harmelin, 45, had no previous criminal record. The police found… Read more »

September 18, 2013

Reform Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws, Witnesses Tell Senate Committee

WASHINGTON, D.C. — At a packed public hearing of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee, a former federal prosecutor and the director of a conservative criminal justice reform group called on U.S. Senators to roll back federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws. These witnesses told committee members that one-size-fits-all penalties do more harm than good, a message… Read more »

September 18, 2013

Could the Time Be Right for Mandatory Sentencing Reform?

(National Journal/Julie Stewart quoted) — Sens. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., couldn’t be farther apart on the partisan spectrum, but their alliance over mandatory-sentencing laws represents the growing support for reform. On Wednesday, the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the Paul-Leahy bill—dubbed the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013—which gives… Read more »

September 18, 2013

Paul, Other Senators Push for Sentencing Overhaul

(AP) — Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul on Wednesday implored Senate colleagues to support a sweeping overhaul of federal sentencing guidelines, saying they disproportionately affect minorities and are reminiscent of Jim Crow laws.  “There is no justice here,” said the libertarian and potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate. “It is wrong and it needs to change.” Paul… Read more »