Criminal sentencing and mandatory minimums have received massive attention from the media in recent years. From the atrocities being committed in the Philippines to the vacating of sentences issued for minor drug offenses in the United States, the way drug offenses are being viewed across the globe is rapidly changing. Every case is different and some cases are tragic.
Although today's post tangentially touches upon the recent fatal police shooting and connected aftermath in Charlotte that is currently commanding widespread national attention, it is more acutely focused on a peripheral subject that has progressively garnered increased attention across the country in recent years.
At some future date, students in North Carolina and nationally immersed in historical details regarding the country's criminal justice system might be flatly perplexed by this huge irony: For decades, the prevalent view that locking people up at progressively higher levels and for increasingly longer prison terms would reduce crime actually spawned the opposite result.
One commentator calls it a conversation "the country needs to have."
Most of us -- that is, our readers across North Carolina and residents from across the country -- know that it is flatly unfair and unfortunate for one-time transgressors of the law who have duly paid their criminal penalty to be adversely adjudged by society permanently thereafter.
To some readers, the following story of a police stop and subsequent drug bust last week might be eminently straightforward and unproblematic in any way.
Placing too much emphasis on a prison-before-all-other-alternatives sentencing philosophy adversely affects "smart policing tactics," states a letter recently penned by a national group of law enforcers.
A United States Supreme Court judge issued some stern words last week in a case she was on the losing end of, with her comments in a 5-3 decision being termed a "fiery dissent" by a CNN article discussing the case.
In previous years, and certainly during the Nixon and Reagan presidential administrations, the imploring nature and tone of one North Carolina police official's utterances on outcomes in some drug cases would likely have been seen as aberrational and soft on crime.
A professional football player says that he recently had the chance to personally convey to President Obama "a couple points my momma wanted me to say to him." What he imparted spotlights criminal law reform in an instructive manner, and we pass along the details of his story -- centrally, his mother's -- for the consideration of our readers in North Carolina and elsewhere.