FAMM Applauds Mass. Governor’s Amendment to Sentencing Bill
Urges Legislature to Allow Limited Judicial Discretion in “3 Strikes” Cases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Date: July 28, 2012
Contact: Barbara J. Dougan (617) 543-0878 or Monica Pratt Raffanel (202) 822-6700
BOSTON: Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) applauds Gov. Deval Patrick for sending the sentencing bill back to the Legislature with a “judicial discretion” amendment. The amendment would allow judges to make an habitual offender sentenced to a maximum term of imprisonment eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of the sentence (or after 25 years for life sentences) when it is in the “interest of justice” and there are “substantial and compelling reasons” to do so.
FAMM’s Massachusetts project director Barbara J. Dougan, made the following statement about the Governor’s action:
“FAMM applauds Gov. Patrick for providing leadership on this critical sentencing issue. We urge the Legislature to pass the amendment and send the improved bill back to the Governor for his signature. The Governor’s amendment would allow judges to make someone who receives a maximum ‘third strike’ sentence eligible for parole after serving two-thirds of the sentence if there are ‘substantial and compelling reasons’ to do so. In no way does this amendment gut the bill. Habitual offenders would still receive the lengthiest sentence possible for their third offense. But one-size-fits-all sentences of any kind will always result in unfair sentences for some. With maximum sentences, including life without parole, the stakes are even higher. Eligibility for parole offers at least some relief from a maximum sentence when that sentence is excessive.”
Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that supports fair and proportionate sentencing laws that allow judicial discretion while maintaining public safety. In 2008, FAMM launched a project in Massachusetts to reform state mandatory minimum sentencing laws for drug and school zone offenses.
For more information on Massachusetts’ mandatory sentencing laws, or FAMM’s perspective on the new sentencing law, please visit FAMM’s website, http://famm.org/state/Massachusetts.aspx, or contact FAMM Massachusetts Project Director, Barbara J. Dougan, at .
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