Our Move To Back To California | Mission Trip – YouCaring.com

Our Move To Back To California | Mission Trip – YouCaring.com.

As most people close to me know, this move has been in the planning stage for several months now, almost a year in fact. Well, it’s now time for the make it happen stage! Being a Cannabis patient and rights advocate/activist for the last 18 months, helping other patients relocate to Canna-Friendly states via the Undergreen Railroad, I am the one now asking for assistance!

I feel kind of odd asking for help because neither I, nor anyone in my family, are terminally ill and/or dying. But what I am is a 51 yr old man who has been in pain for different injuries and afflictions every single day of my life for the last 30 years. And now I am battling the issues of dealing with the side-effects of undergoing Chemo therapy for the treatment of my Hepatitis C. Above all that, I am currently living in a state with extremely oppressive legal, moral, and political standards and beliefs, and I need to get to a place where I can pursue these highly personal issues on my own terms as opposed to having them force-fed to me.

My 23 year old Son also suffers from Aspergers Syndrome and is a separate, complex, scenario all on his own, but he also wants to relocate back to his home state and be by the ocean, and he needs a safe, stable living environment.

If you have never had the misfortune of having to deal with any sort of daily chronic pain condition, you can’t begin to understand the debilitating, demoralizing, and depressing nature of this scenario. And I have several. I have undergone 8 surgeries in the last 4 ½ years. 3 of these in the last year alone. All of these 3 being major procedures which have led to the insertion of some sort of implant or prosthetic into my body. (view pictures at right)

I originally tore the Lateral Meniscus in my left knee at age 21. I began to develop the symptoms of Carpal Tunnel Syndrome at age 25. 4 years ago I learned of major nerve damage in my right elbow, which I am being told probably caused the C.T. Syndrome in the first place. Also 4 years ago I developed Spinal Stenosis in my upper neck. Somewhere in there I developed Chronic Rheumatoid Arthritis which runs in my family, thus causing severe complications to all of these afflictions. I now have a titanium rod in my right wrist, thus “fusing” it to the point where I can no longer bend it. I also have another titanium implant in my neck, separating my C3, C4, C5, and C6 neck vertebrae. And 3 months ago I was given a total knee joint replacement.

When I was younger I used to work alone, in my own construction cleanup/hauling busuness. I worked VERY hard for many years and I just simply destroyed my body. I still suffer from a great deal of daily pain. And all of these procedures needed to be performed before I was able to start the Chemo as my Dr was not willing to even begin my treatment without first treating all the chronic pain scenarios.

Aside from the Chemo meds, all 3 of which are necessary and non-replaceable, I now take a rather large assortment of designer pharmaceutical medications out of pure necessity. I am planning to move to Northern Calif., given the fact that once there I will be able obtain a Medical card where I will be then able to treat with Cannabis as my main form of relief as a mood stabilizer, anti-depressant, pain reliever, sleep aid, appetite enhancer. Thus eliminating 5 of the 8 pill bottles I now store in my kitchen. And after the 24 week regimen of Chemo, I hope to eliminate “Big-Pharma” from my life completely and forever.

I will be moving with my Son. We are both on a limited, fixed income, but will be able to come up about 1/4 of the total expenses ourselves. However, any of you who have undertaken an out-of-state move knows how expensive it is, and we truly need your help! I am doing a lot of online research into our chosen area as far as prices and availabilities. Plus I will be making contact via phone and email and meeting in person in July with several property management agencies.

The cost break down will be something like this:

Moving truck and car carrier trailer to haul my car (I already got a quote from U-haul): $788 total with all taxes and fees.

Fuel, meals, and 1 night at a motel (it will be a 2 day drive): roughly $350-400

We will be looking for a 2 bedroom place in the $900-1200/mo. range. 1st and last month rent, deposit and pet deposit: $2200-3500

CA DMV changeover fees for ID’s, DL’s, car registration, tags and plate: roughly $350

CA Cannabis med card and Dr appt is about $175 but I will deal with that after we are there.

Barring any problems and unknowns, plus possibly having to stay in a Motel or at a campground for a week or 2 once there, this is a fairly concise, but conservative estimate. If we find we have to wait a month or 2 to get a pet, that deposit may not be an issue at first. Plus we will probably be able to wait a month or so to do the DMV stuff, but still this move will cost us at least $3500 minimum!

I realize that a lot of people have a problem with electronic money transfers. Giving up your credit or bank card info online is a huge issue with a lot of you, and a very valid concern, and I understand that. Some people dont believe in plastic at all or don’t have an ATM or Credit Card and have no way to do online money transfers. If you are not into the whole electronic money transfer thing, but still want to donate, click the “Contact The Organizer” button below and send me an email and we’ll chat in person and I’ll give you my address so you can mail a check or money order to me!

If you are not able to donate financially, we ask that you please share this link with your friends and family as we will need all the exposure and help we can get! Good vibes and well-wishing is also accepted and greatly appreciated!! As we get closer to our move date, I will post any progress and updates. Thank You in advance!!
– See more at: http://www.youcaring.com/mission-trip-fundraiser/our-move-to-back-to-california/167485#sthash.rbPlDRgS.dpuf

GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH, ON DERBY DAY, MAY 3RD, IN LOUISVILLE, KY!

*GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH LOUISVILLE KENTUCKY ON MAY 3

Presented by Kentucky Marijuana Party and DIVERSE SANCTUARY

Louisville, Kentucky, April 30, 2014–

The Global Marijuana March is coming to Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday May 3rd, 2014 which coincides with Kentucky Derby Day!

This will be the FIRST GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH that LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY has participated in.

Per Wikipedia:

Hundreds of thousands of people have participated in over 829 different cities in 72 countries worldwide since 1999

The following route will be adhered to as submitted to the Louisville Permit Office:

*Note: We will meet in front of Mid City Mall on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky at 10:30am sharp for the walk to begin at 11:00.  The permit ends at 12:30pm.  However, there are many restaurants, shops, and other places to visit in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville!  So spend the day and enjoy!

Start at Mid City Mall at 1250 Bardstown Rd. Head northwest on Bardstown Rd toward Beechwood Ave
0.5 mi

Continue onto Baxter Ave
0.3 mi
(Corner of Baxter and Broadway)

Head northwest on Baxter Ave toward Cherokee Rd
220 ft.

Sharp right onto Cherokee Rd
0.9 mi.

Turn right onto Longest Ave
492 ft.

Turn right onto Bardstown Rd
To 1250 Bardstown Rd.
400 ft.

TOTAL 1.8 MILES

WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR PARKING.

ALL LOCAL LAWS MUST BE ADHERED TO WHILE PARTICIPATING!

PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

THIS EVENT IS INTENDED TO RAISE AWARENESS CONCERNING CANNABIS/HEMP/”MARIJUANA”, IT’S VALUE TO OUR SOCIETY AND REASONS TO “REPEAL” THE EXISTING CANNABIS LAWS VERSUS THE “LEGALIZATION” OF THE PLANT!

PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR RIGHT TO GROW NON-GMO, NON-REGULATED CANNABIS!

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Sheree M Krider at U.S. Marijuana Party of KENTUCKY (ph: 270-612-0524) or email at [email protected]

*Diverse Sanctuary, Mary Thomas-Spears, Bowling Green, Kentucky, (ph: 270-904-0279)

GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH, ON DERBY DAY, MAY 3RD, IN LOUISVILLE, KY!

*GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH LOUISVILLE KENTUCKY ON MAY 3

Presented by Kentucky Marijuana Party and DIVERSE SANCTUARY

Louisville, Kentucky, April 30, 2014–

The Global Marijuana March is coming to Louisville, Kentucky on Saturday May 3rd, 2014 which coincides with Kentucky Derby Day!

This will be the FIRST GLOBAL MARIJUANA MARCH that LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY has participated in.

Per Wikipedia:

Hundreds of thousands of people have participated in over 829 different cities in 72 countries worldwide since 1999

The following route will be adhered to as submitted to the Louisville Permit Office:

*Note: We will meet in front of Mid City Mall on Bardstown Road in Louisville, Kentucky at 10:30am sharp for the walk to begin at 11:00.  The permit ends at 12:30pm.  However, there are many restaurants, shops, and other places to visit in the Highlands neighborhood of Louisville!  So spend the day and enjoy!

Start at Mid City Mall at 1250 Bardstown Rd. Head northwest on Bardstown Rd toward Beechwood Ave
0.5 mi

Continue onto Baxter Ave
0.3 mi
(Corner of Baxter and Broadway)

Head northwest on Baxter Ave toward Cherokee Rd
220 ft.

Sharp right onto Cherokee Rd
0.9 mi.

Turn right onto Longest Ave
492 ft.

Turn right onto Bardstown Rd
To 1250 Bardstown Rd.
400 ft.

TOTAL 1.8 MILES

WE ARE NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR PARKING.

ALL LOCAL LAWS MUST BE ADHERED TO WHILE PARTICIPATING!

PLEASE BE CONSIDERATE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD!

THIS EVENT IS INTENDED TO RAISE AWARENESS CONCERNING CANNABIS/HEMP/”MARIJUANA”, IT’S VALUE TO OUR SOCIETY AND REASONS TO “REPEAL” THE EXISTING CANNABIS LAWS VERSUS THE “LEGALIZATION” OF THE PLANT!

PLEASE COME OUT AND SUPPORT YOUR RIGHT TO GROW NON-GMO, NON-REGULATED CANNABIS!

# # #

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Sheree M Krider at U.S. Marijuana Party of KENTUCKY (ph: 270-612-0524) or email at [email protected]

*Diverse Sanctuary, Mary Thomas-Spears, Bowling Green, Kentucky, (ph: 270-904-0279)

10 things to know for the 140th Kentucky Derby

 

 

 

By BETH HARRIS Associated Press

LOUISVILLE — The garland of red roses. The solid gold trophy. An estimated payday of $1.24 million.

All those spoils await the winner of the 140th Kentucky Derby to be run on May 3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville. A full field of 20 3-year-olds is expected for the 1 1/4-mile race, and most of them will be running the distance for the first time.

Packing the stands and the infield will be upward of 150,000 people, many of whom come for the party atmosphere, the wagering and to possibly see a live horse or two. They’ll dress to the nines in fancy suits and dresses topped off by a mix of elegant, huge and outrageous hats. New this year to the track is a $12 million high-definition video board that measures 171-foot wide by 90-foot tall and will show the day’s races and other entertainment.

Here are 10 things to know about the Derby:

1. NUMBERS GAME: Trainer Todd Pletcher has four probable starters in pursuit of his second Derby victory. They are: Arkansas Derby winner Danza; Risen Star winner Intense Holiday; Spiral Stakes winner We Miss Artie; and Vinceremos, who was 14th in the Blue Grass. Mike Maker could saddle three horses: Vicar’s in Trouble, General a Rod and Harry’s Holiday. Bob Baffert, a three-time Derby winner, could start two: Rebel Stakes winner Hoppertunity and Sunland Derby winner Chitu.

2. DRAW DAY: The field of 20 horses is announced on Wednesday. That’s when the draw is held to determine spots in the starting gate. Some trainers want to avoid the No. 1 post because their horse starts next to the rail and could get pinched going into the first turn. Others don’t like the No. 20 post because their horse is on the far outside and has to quickly make its way over toward the rail to save ground going into the first turn. Last year’s winner, Orb, broke from the No. 15 post. The odds are set on draw day, too.

3. CALIFORNIA CHROME: California Chrome is expected to be the favorite based on the dominating form he’s shown on the West Coast. The colt has won his last four races by a combined 24 1/4 lengths, including the Santa Anita Derby. He beat Hopportunity and Candy Boy in that race, two rivals he’s likely to face again in Louisville. He’s trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, who won the Derby in 2002.

4. POINTS SYSTEM: For the second straight year, the field of 20 starters is being determined by points. Churchill Downs instituted a tiered system that awards a sliding scale of points to the top four finishers in 34 designated races. The top 20 point earners at the end of the series will earn a spot in the Derby starting gate if more than 20 horses enter. The field has been limited to 20 horses since 1975. At least that many have entered every year since 2004, and 13 of the last 15 years.

5. BUCKING HISTORY: Hoppertunity didn’t race as a 2-year-old, setting him up for a chance to break one of the Derby’s oldest jinxes: no horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without racing at 2. “I had him entered in a race at 2 and scratched him because I had another one there,” trainer Bob Baffert said. “He was ready to run, so that should count.”

6. ALSO ELIGIBLES: Besides the 20 horses which make the Derby, four more can also be entered. They would have until the morning of May 2 to get into the race if any horses are scratched by then.

7. TIEBREAKER: Five horses are tied for the 20th and last spot on the points leaderboard with 20 each. Harry’s Holiday would be the last horse to get in because he has highest earnings in non-restricted stakes races, which is the tiebreaker. The other horses with 20 points are Commanding Curve, Pablo Del Monte, Bayern and Social Inclusion.

8. OLDEST TRAINER: Art Sherman has the best horse of his career with California Chrome. At 77, he could become the oldest trainer to win, breaking the record of Charlie Whittingham, who was 76 when he won in 1989 with Sunday Silence. Sherman has done it all in the business. He was a jockey for 21 years, a racing official and then became a trainer in 1980. He has won over 2,100 races.

9. NEW ANNOUNCER: Larry Collmus is the new race caller at Churchill Downs. He has announced the Derby the last three years on the NBC telecast, but this will be the first year that his voice is heard by fans at the track and TV viewers. He also announces races at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

10. TRIPLE CROWN: A horse has just one shot to win the Triple Crown because the Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes is restricted to 3-year-olds. Only 11 horses have swept the series and none since Affirmed in 1978. The feat begins with a victory in the Derby, followed by wins in the other races over a five-week span. Fifty horses have finished one win shy of the Triple, including I’ll Have Another in 2012.

– See more at: http://www.glasgowdailytimes.com/sports/x1535579856/10-things-to-know-for-the-140th-Kentucky-Derby#sthash.Qsut9vrc.dpuf

10 things to know for the 140th Kentucky Derby

 

 

 

By BETH HARRIS Associated Press

LOUISVILLE — The garland of red roses. The solid gold trophy. An estimated payday of $1.24 million.

All those spoils await the winner of the 140th Kentucky Derby to be run on May 3 at Churchill Downs in Louisville. A full field of 20 3-year-olds is expected for the 1 1/4-mile race, and most of them will be running the distance for the first time.

Packing the stands and the infield will be upward of 150,000 people, many of whom come for the party atmosphere, the wagering and to possibly see a live horse or two. They’ll dress to the nines in fancy suits and dresses topped off by a mix of elegant, huge and outrageous hats. New this year to the track is a $12 million high-definition video board that measures 171-foot wide by 90-foot tall and will show the day’s races and other entertainment.

Here are 10 things to know about the Derby:

1. NUMBERS GAME: Trainer Todd Pletcher has four probable starters in pursuit of his second Derby victory. They are: Arkansas Derby winner Danza; Risen Star winner Intense Holiday; Spiral Stakes winner We Miss Artie; and Vinceremos, who was 14th in the Blue Grass. Mike Maker could saddle three horses: Vicar’s in Trouble, General a Rod and Harry’s Holiday. Bob Baffert, a three-time Derby winner, could start two: Rebel Stakes winner Hoppertunity and Sunland Derby winner Chitu.

2. DRAW DAY: The field of 20 horses is announced on Wednesday. That’s when the draw is held to determine spots in the starting gate. Some trainers want to avoid the No. 1 post because their horse starts next to the rail and could get pinched going into the first turn. Others don’t like the No. 20 post because their horse is on the far outside and has to quickly make its way over toward the rail to save ground going into the first turn. Last year’s winner, Orb, broke from the No. 15 post. The odds are set on draw day, too.

3. CALIFORNIA CHROME: California Chrome is expected to be the favorite based on the dominating form he’s shown on the West Coast. The colt has won his last four races by a combined 24 1/4 lengths, including the Santa Anita Derby. He beat Hopportunity and Candy Boy in that race, two rivals he’s likely to face again in Louisville. He’s trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, who won the Derby in 2002.

4. POINTS SYSTEM: For the second straight year, the field of 20 starters is being determined by points. Churchill Downs instituted a tiered system that awards a sliding scale of points to the top four finishers in 34 designated races. The top 20 point earners at the end of the series will earn a spot in the Derby starting gate if more than 20 horses enter. The field has been limited to 20 horses since 1975. At least that many have entered every year since 2004, and 13 of the last 15 years.

5. BUCKING HISTORY: Hoppertunity didn’t race as a 2-year-old, setting him up for a chance to break one of the Derby’s oldest jinxes: no horse since Apollo in 1882 has won the Derby without racing at 2. "I had him entered in a race at 2 and scratched him because I had another one there," trainer Bob Baffert said. "He was ready to run, so that should count."

6. ALSO ELIGIBLES: Besides the 20 horses which make the Derby, four more can also be entered. They would have until the morning of May 2 to get into the race if any horses are scratched by then.

7. TIEBREAKER: Five horses are tied for the 20th and last spot on the points leaderboard with 20 each. Harry’s Holiday would be the last horse to get in because he has highest earnings in non-restricted stakes races, which is the tiebreaker. The other horses with 20 points are Commanding Curve, Pablo Del Monte, Bayern and Social Inclusion.

8. OLDEST TRAINER: Art Sherman has the best horse of his career with California Chrome. At 77, he could become the oldest trainer to win, breaking the record of Charlie Whittingham, who was 76 when he won in 1989 with Sunday Silence. Sherman has done it all in the business. He was a jockey for 21 years, a racing official and then became a trainer in 1980. He has won over 2,100 races.

9. NEW ANNOUNCER: Larry Collmus is the new race caller at Churchill Downs. He has announced the Derby the last three years on the NBC telecast, but this will be the first year that his voice is heard by fans at the track and TV viewers. He also announces races at Gulfstream Park in Florida.

10. TRIPLE CROWN: A horse has just one shot to win the Triple Crown because the Derby, Preakness and Belmont stakes is restricted to 3-year-olds. Only 11 horses have swept the series and none since Affirmed in 1978. The feat begins with a victory in the Derby, followed by wins in the other races over a five-week span. Fifty horses have finished one win shy of the Triple, including I’ll Have Another in 2012.

– See more at: http://www.glasgowdailytimes.com/sports/x1535579856/10-things-to-know-for-the-140th-Kentucky-Derby#sthash.Qsut9vrc.dpuf

Cornerstone Participates in City of Glasgow, KY Project Converting Landfill Methane Gas Into Electrical Power

file

MIDDLETOWN, NY–(Marketwired – Apr 24, 2014) – Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC announces that it is providing landfill gas engineering and air permitting services to the City of Glasgow, Kentucky for a project that will convert methane gas produced by the City’s landfill into electrical power. At peak production, the project will supply the electrical power needs of about 450 residences as well as serve as a back-up power source for the city’s wastewater treatment plant.

The unique sustainable green energy project involves a partnership between the City of Glasgow and the East Kentucky Power Cooperative (EKPC) through its local affiliate, Farmers Rural Electric Cooperative (Farmers), to install the landfill gas collection system and sell the captured gas to EKPC at a wholesale rate. EKPC will generate electricity from the landfill gas for sale to Farmers. The $1.3 million gas collection system is being funded by loans and grants, as well as the City of Glasgow itself.

Commonwealth of Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear was recently at the site to present a check for $100,000 that the city received from a Kentucky Energy Efficiency and Conservation for Local Governments grant, which will be used to help fund the project. "This effort is the ultimate recycling project — using science and innovation to literally turn trash in to energy," said Governor Beshear. "Thanks to the vision and creativity of both the public and private partners in this project, the city of Glasgow will have a renewable energy source, save local tax dollars and reduce their carbon footprint on the planet."

Matthew Davies, Co-President of Cornerstone agreed, adding, "What sets the Glasgow project apart from other landfill gas-to-energy projects we have worked on is the extremely high level of collaboration among the partners and the leadership and foresight of the Commonwealth of Kentucky and the City of Glasgow. This economic development project will provide high quality jobs and affordable reliable renewable electricity, as well as environmental benefits. We are so excited to be supporting the City of Glasgow and EKPC and cannot wait to be present when commercial power production starts."

About Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC

Cornerstone Environmental Group, LLC is an engineering and environmental consulting firm dedicated to providing landfill design and permitting and landfill gas design and engineering, hydrogeology, environmental compliance, air quality, site and civil design, facilities, construction, and operations and maintenance services to the solid waste industry and commercial and industrial clients. With about 160 employees located in 12 offices across the United States, the company is headquartered in Middletown, NY with a local office in Lexington, KY. Additional information on Cornerstone is available at www.cornerstoneeg.com or by contacting Cathie Swyka at 845-695-0207 or via email at [email protected].

CONTACT:
Cathie Swyka
Marketing Manager
Cornerstone Environmental Group
(845) 695-0207
[email protected]

CONTINUE READING…

At least one owner of a Colorado medical marijuana business raided by federal agents last year has been arrested and another has been indicted.

Thumbnail image for kid in handcuffs.jpg

 

 

DENVER — At least one owner of a Colorado medical marijuana business raided by federal agents last year has been arrested and another has been indicted.

Agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, Internal Revenue Service and Diplomatic Security Service carried out several arrests on Friday, said a spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office in Denver. But prosecutors wouldn’t release their names or describe the nature of the case, saying that was part of a sealed indictment that could become public Monday.

Federal authorities in November raided more than a dozen sites, many of them in medical marijuana dispensaries in Denver and Boulder, confiscating piles of marijuana plants and cartons of cannabis-infused drinks and edibles. Although prosecutors still haven’t disclosed the reasons for them, the raids sent a strong message to Colorado’s marijuana industry in the weeks before the state legalized recreational sales of the drug.

The arrests included that of Denver attorney and dispensary owner David Furtado, who on Friday was seen in video taken by KUSA-TV being led away by agents with his arms behind his back. Neither Furtado nor his lawyer returned calls seeking comment.

An attorney for another targeted dispensary owner, Gerardo Uribe, said his client had been indicted but it wasn’t immediately clear if he was arrested.

Attorney Sean McAllister said he did not know what charges Uribe could face.

“My client continues to assert he conducted his business in a way that was consistent with Colorado marijuana laws,” McAllister said. “He intends to vigorously defend himself.”

Court filings related to the case of Hector Diaz, a Colombian man arrested on a weapons charge during the raids, describe both Uribe and Furtado as “targets in a long-term investigation into marijuana distribution, money laundering and other offenses.” Uribe is further described in the documents as “the head of a marijuana drug distribution organization.”

Diaz had been staying at Uribe’s home in an upscale Denver suburb when he was arrested. Prosecutors said Uribe’s father, Gerardo Uribe Sr., confronted agents at the door “holding a firearm he was slow to relinquish.”

Investigators who searched the younger Uribe’s email found a photo they said shows Diaz posing with two semi-automatic rifles and two handguns while wearing a U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency cap, according to the court filings. Diaz’s attorney has asked a judge to dismiss the case against him, saying among other arguments that prosecutors violated his Second Amendment rights.

CONTINUE READING…

US widens path to clemency for nonviolent federal drug offenders

 

The new Justice Department clemency guidelines, which apply to inmates who have served 10 years of their sentence, are designed to alleviate racial disparities left over from tough drug laws.

By Noelle Swan, Staff writer / April 23, 2014

 

The US Justice Department Wednesday widened the path to clemency for nonviolent federal drug offenders with an initiative designed to alleviate longstanding sentencing disparities left over from tough drug laws that disproportionately affected black drug offenders.

The new clemency guidelines apply to inmates who have served 10 or more years in prison and meet other criteria, with some analysts saying thousands of inmates could be affected.

“The attorney general’s and the president’s actions here are trying to remedy an historic wrong that has detrimented many citizens of color,” says Harvard Law School Professor Ronald Sullivan, director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute.

The move is consistent with the constitutional principle that punishment should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offense, says Sullivan, who chaired President Obama’s criminal justice policy group during the then-senator’s campaign for president. 

Mr. Obama took his first steps to bring drug sentencing in line with the seriousness of the offense by signing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which revamped mandatory sentencing requirements for cocaine-related crime.

Prior to the act’s passage, predominantly black drug offenders convicted of possessing crack cocaine received mandated sentences that were significantly harsher than those imposed on predominantly white drug offenders facing charges relating to the powdered form of the same drug. Punishments for possession of a given amount of crack were on a par with punishments for possession of 100 times that amount of powdered cocaine. Under the act, that ratio was reduced from 100:1 to 18:1 for newly convicted crack cocaine offenders.

The new clemency guidelines aim to extend that equity to inmates convicted prior to 2010, but only if they meet several guidelines released by the Department of Justice on Wednesday. To qualify for consideration, inmates must have served 10 years of their sentence, have no other significant criminal record, have no significant ties to gangs or organized crime, and have demonstrated good behavior during their incarceration.

No one knows exactly how many people will actually meet all of the criteria for consideration, but the number could easily reach the thousands, says American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Vanita Gupta.

“I think [the clemency expansion] marks a turn away from the old business as usual in the federal criminal justice system,” Ms. Gupta says. “That said, it is not going alone to reduce the prison population, which is right now at a crisis point where the federal prison system is 35 to 40 percent over capacity.”

In July, Senator Dick Durbin (D) of Illinois Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bill that would shorten mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders and grant judges more discretion when doling out punishment. The latest version of the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in January and a similar bill has been referred to committee in the House of Representatives.

So far, the Smarter Sentencing Act has garnered considerable support from both sides of the aisle.

However, John Malcolm, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, suggests that the Obama administration’s announcement on Wednesday could jeopardize that support and effectively “poison the well” of congressional bipartisanship.

“This is a very broad action, it’s very precipitously done. It is sort of thumbing his nose at Congress in the sense of trying to develop any sort of bipartisan solutions here,” Mr. Malcolm says.

The ACLU’s Gupta sees it differently.

Several states, including the predominantly red states Texas, South Carolina, and South Dakota, have taken steps to reduce the number of inmates in the state prison system.

“I think the president is feeling empowered to do this in part because there has been tremendous conservative leadership on this in the states for several years now,” Gupta says.

CONTINUE READING…

US widens path to clemency for nonviolent federal drug offenders

The new Justice Department clemency guidelines, which apply to inmates who have served 10 years of their sentence, are designed to alleviate racial disparities left over from tough drug laws.

By Noelle Swan, Staff writer / April 23, 2014

 

The US Justice Department Wednesday widened the path to clemency for nonviolent federal drug offenders with an initiative designed to alleviate longstanding sentencing disparities left over from tough drug laws that disproportionately affected black drug offenders.

The new clemency guidelines apply to inmates who have served 10 or more years in prison and meet other criteria, with some analysts saying thousands of inmates could be affected.

“The attorney general’s and the president’s actions here are trying to remedy an historic wrong that has detrimented many citizens of color,” says Harvard Law School Professor Ronald Sullivan, director of the Harvard Criminal Justice Institute.

The move is consistent with the constitutional principle that punishment should be proportionate to the seriousness of the offense, says Sullivan, who chaired President Obama’s criminal justice policy group during the then-senator’s campaign for president.

Mr. Obama took his first steps to bring drug sentencing in line with the seriousness of the offense by signing the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, which revamped mandatory sentencing requirements for cocaine-related crime.

Prior to the act’s passage, predominantly black drug offenders convicted of possessing crack cocaine received mandated sentences that were significantly harsher than those imposed on predominantly white drug offenders facing charges relating to the powdered form of the same drug. Punishments for possession of a given amount of crack were on a par with punishments for possession of 100 times that amount of powdered cocaine. Under the act, that ratio was reduced from 100:1 to 18:1 for newly convicted crack cocaine offenders.

The new clemency guidelines aim to extend that equity to inmates convicted prior to 2010, but only if they meet several guidelines released by the Department of Justice on Wednesday. To qualify for consideration, inmates must have served 10 years of their sentence, have no other significant criminal record, have no significant ties to gangs or organized crime, and have demonstrated good behavior during their incarceration.

No one knows exactly how many people will actually meet all of the criteria for consideration, but the number could easily reach the thousands, says American Civil Liberties Union Deputy Legal Director Vanita Gupta.

“I think [the clemency expansion] marks a turn away from the old business as usual in the federal criminal justice system,” Ms. Gupta says. “That said, it is not going alone to reduce the prison population, which is right now at a crisis point where the federal prison system is 35 to 40 percent over capacity.”

In July, Senator Dick Durbin (D) of Illinois Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah introduced the Smarter Sentencing Act, a bill that would shorten mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders and grant judges more discretion when doling out punishment. The latest version of the bill passed the Senate Judiciary Committee in January and a similar bill has been referred to committee in the House of Representatives.

So far, the Smarter Sentencing Act has garnered considerable support from both sides of the aisle.

However, John Malcolm, a legal fellow at The Heritage Foundation, suggests that the Obama administration’s announcement on Wednesday could jeopardize that support and effectively “poison the well” of congressional bipartisanship.

“This is a very broad action, it’s very precipitously done. It is sort of thumbing his nose at Congress in the sense of trying to develop any sort of bipartisan solutions here,” Mr. Malcolm says.

The ACLU’s Gupta sees it differently.

Several states, including the predominantly red states Texas, South Carolina, and South Dakota, have taken steps to reduce the number of inmates in the state prison system.

“I think the president is feeling empowered to do this in part because there has been tremendous conservative leadership on this in the states for several years now,” Gupta says.

CONTINUE READING…