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 9, 2013

Revisiting Florida’s “10-20-Life” law

FAMM’s Florida project director Greg Newburn hashes out all of the reasons why Florida’s notorious “10-20-life” mandatory sentencing law must change in a ContextFlorida essay on September 9. Responding to a recent column by Florida House Criminal Justice Subcommittee Chair Matt Gaetz in defense of Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law, Greg writes:  It is undoubtedly true… Read more »

September 7, 2013

Lisa Angelos: Mandatory Sentences Can Defy Logic

Lisa Angelos, sister of Weldon Angelos, wrote about her brother’s 55 year sentence in this op-ed in the Deseret News. When U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department was going to change how it prosecuted nonviolent individuals who buy or sell illegal drugs, Holder said, “By reserving the most severe penalties for… Read more »

September 7, 2013

Stephanie George

Stephanie was sentenced to life without parole when she was only 26 years old for conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute cocaine base. At sentencing, Stephanie’s judge said that her role had “basically been as a girlfriend and bag holder and money holder. So certainly, in my judgment, it doesn’t warrant a life sentence.”… Read more »

September 7, 2013

Cindy Martinson: Judges Need More Discretion on Sentences

Cindy Martinson, mother of Mandy Martinson, wrote the following op-ed in the Des Moines Register. U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently announced an important shift in Justice Department policy: He told federal prosecutors not to pursue mandatory minimum sentences for some nonviolent drug offenders. Unfortunately for me and my daughter, Mandy Martinson, Holder’s proposal is… Read more »

September 6, 2013

Sharanda Jones

Sharanda was a first-time offender sentenced to life without parole for conspiracy to distribute crack cocaine. President Obama commuted her sentence on December 18, 2015. UPDATE: Sharanda was released in 2016.   On November 2, 2015, The Nightly Show with Larry Wilmore devoted a segment to Sharanda’s case and the call for her release. Taxpayers… Read more »

September 6, 2013

Derrick Cain

Derrick started selling cocaine to finance his wife’s education and support his family. He was sentenced to five years in prison for possession with intent to distribute cocaine, plus an additional five years for possession of a firearm, even though Derrick’s gun was never used in connection with cocaine sales. UPDATE: Derrick was released to… Read more »

September 6, 2013

Julie on Justice: A Moment 22 Years in the Making

I want to keep this short, sweet, and direct because we have a lot of work to do. Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder announced significant changes in the charging practices of federal prosecutors. Perhaps more important, Holder threw the Justice Department’s full weight behind mandatory minimum sentencing reform. It was the first time since… Read more »