U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy http://wfpl.org en Senator Rand Paul: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws Target Racial Minorities http://wfpl.org/post/senator-rand-paul-mandatory-minimum-sentencing-laws-target-racial-minorities <p>Speaking before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky says federal mandatory minimum sentencing laws need to be changed in part because they disproportionately target African-Americans and Hispanics.</p><p>"If I told you that one out of three African-American males is forbidden by law from voting, you might think I was talking about Jim Crow 50 years ago. Yet today, a third of African-American males are still prevented from voting because of the War on Drugs," Paul told fellow lawmakers. "The War on Drugs has disproportionately affected young black males."</p><p>Paul was testifying about <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/senator-rand-paul-joins-democrat-give-judges-more-flexibility-federal-sentencing">the Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013</a>, which he is co-sponsoring along with Democratic Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont.</p><p>Watch:</p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/Rw5kswXZs9I" frameborder="0" height="360" width="480"></iframe></p><p>The measure will expand the so-called "safety valve" allowing federal judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases.</p><p>This is also part of <a href="http://wfpl.org/post/rand-paul-reaching-out-black-voters-receives-praise-local-leaders">Paul's larger outreach effort to racial minorities</a>, which has sparked a discussion among civil rights leaders and lawmakers in his home state. Wed, 18 Sep 2013 16:19:07 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 6885 at http://wfpl.org Senator Rand Paul: Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws Target Racial Minorities Senator Rand Paul Joins Democrat to Give Judges More Flexibility in Federal Sentencing http://wfpl.org/post/senator-rand-paul-joins-democrat-give-judges-more-flexibility-federal-sentencing <p>Joining Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., has introduced a bill to allow judges greater flexibility in sentencing federal crimes where a mandatory minimum punishment is considered unnecessary.</p><p>The bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013 will expand the so-called "safety valve", which allows judges to impose a sentence below the mandatory minimum in qualifying drug cases.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Leahy and Paul are polar opposites politically, but the two senators agree more latitude is needed to address the country's growing prison population and spiraling costs.&nbsp;</p><p>For many critics, the "tough-on-crime" of the past 30 years have created laws that disproportionately effect minorities and the poor.</p><p>Paul emphasizes that the mandatory laws are a part of federal overreach where more judicial discretion is needed.</p><p>"Our country’s mandatory minimum laws reflect a Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all approach, which undermines the Constitutional Separation of Powers, violates the our bedrock principle that people should be treated as individuals, and costs the taxpayers money without making them any safer," Paul said in a news release. "This bill is necessary to combat the explosion of new federal criminal laws, many of which carry new mandatory minimum penalties."</p><p> Wed, 20 Mar 2013 20:35:16 +0000 Phillip M. Bailey 4589 at http://wfpl.org Senator Rand Paul Joins Democrat to Give Judges More Flexibility in Federal Sentencing