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Criminal Defense Blog


Keeping mandatory minimum sentences to a minimum

Federal prosecutors are reportedly seeking additional prison time for a man who pleaded guilty to federal drug charges back in November. Although the case involves drug charges, prosecutors are basing their request for a higher sentence on the man’s alleged involvement in several killings.

The mandatory minimum sentence for the charges would put the man in prison for 20 years, but prosecutors want him in for 25 to 30 years. According to his attorney, the shootings in question are a separate matter and unrelated to the drug conspiracy charges to which he pleaded guilty. 

The job of prosecutors is, of course, to protect the public interest by holding offenders accountable for their actions. With defendants who are perceived as being particularly at risk, prosecutors will employer various strategies to obtain the conviction and sentence they desire. Counter to that, the job of a defense attorney is to ensure that the defendant receives the benefit of all the protections available to him or her.

As of right now, there is a bit of a battle going on with respect to mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders. While the Obama administration has been engaged in an effort to eliminate mandatory minimums for these cases, some federal prosecutors and district attorneys have been fighting that effort.

When it comes to mandatory minimum sentences, defendants charged with drug offenses need all the protection they can get. In particular, nonviolent drug offenders need to work with an attorney who will work to keep their sentence to a minimum.

Source: Chicago, “Feds seek extra prison time for heroin ring boss in drug case,” Frank Main, March 27, 2014. 

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