The winds of change are blowing, with their power being firmly in evidence in the realm of criminal justice reforms.
Indeed, the thrust for reform -- especially in the area of federal criminal law sentencing and in the federal context -- is manifest and growing.
That has been especially true over the past months and in recent years regarding perceived misapplied sentences handed down in many drug crimes cases. Increasingly more commentators are decrying the often inequitable, expensive and counterproductive results wrought by mandatory-minimum sentences, especially in the many instances when they have put first-time and nonviolent offenders behind bars for lengthy -- sometimes decades-long -- periods. A prison-not-rehabilitation focus that has long been a hallmark of the so-called War on Drugs is also now under an onslaught of criticism.
Notably, reform proponents constitute a widely bipartisan demographic, with legislators on both sides of the political aisle having banded in efforts to bring about change. And as noted in a recent media report, a broad-based coalition of change seekers in the nation's law enforcement community is now also beseeching presidential candidates to adopt material reforms going forward.
The bottom line espoused by a nationwide group of police officials, federal prosecutors and others is this: Drug sentencing outcomes too often lead to harsh and excessive prison terms, which increases recidivism, costs far too much, alienates the public and militates against enforcement efforts in many key areas.
Unquestionably, drug crimes and prosecution are complex and problematic in broad-based ways, with reform clearly being needed.
Drug defendants have a compelling need for strong defense counsel when they are targeted in an investigation involving the vast resources of state and/or federal officials. Questions or concerns regarding any aspect of a drug charge can be directed to a proven criminal defense attorney.