Newsbrief: House Panel Goes After Federal Judge for Being Too Lenient on Drug Offenders 3/14/03

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

The House Judiciary Committee, chaired by Rep. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-WI), is going after a federal judge who had the temerity to both challenge federal sentencing guidelines in testimony before the committee and to actually occasionally sentence low-level drug defendants to less time than federal guidelines require. The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that the committee will subpoena records from Chief Judge James M. Rosenbaum of Minnesota's federal district court. The move comes one month after the committee asked the General Accounting Office to review sentencing decisions by all federal judges in the state.

The Journal called the move against Rosenbaum "an extraordinary step" in the fight over the direction of the federal judiciary.

Rosenbaum appeared before the committee in May 2002 to testify against a bill to reinstate longer drug sentences after the US Sentencing Commission acted to lower penalties for some first-time drug offenders. In his testimony, Rosenbaum criticized federal sentencing guidelines that punish "minor and minimal participants" as if they were drug kingpins.

While that bill failed, Rosenbaum's testimony alerted the panel to his sentencing practices. Republican members of the committee told the Journal that Rosenbaum -- gasp! -- actually imposed sentences lighter than required by the guidelines on several defendants. In one case cited by the congressmen, Rosenbaum said that a defendant's involvement was limited to taking money for accepting a package, and sentenced her to six-months instead of the mandatory minimum four-year sentence. In a second case, Rosenbaum sentenced a drug defendant to 120 months, one month less than required by the guidelines. "Now that represents an illegal departure," Rosenbaum joked, but the House Republicans aren't laughing.

The committee and Rosenbaum have been squabbling for the last few months over whether he would provide committee investigators with access to sealed transcripts and other information. Now, it appears, the committee is tired of waiting. The senior Democrat on the committee, Rep. Bobby Rush (D-VA) called the move to subpoena Rosenbaum's records a "bizarre overreaction."

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #278, 3/14/03 Federal Judge Refuses to Block Potential Federal Arrests of California Medical Marijuana Patients | No Comment: Antonio Maria Costa, Director-General of UN Office on Drugs and Crime Addresses Swedes on Marijuana | Funding Crunch Hits Drug Reform Movement | DRCNet Interview: Adam Jones, Teachers Against Prohibition | DRCNet Book Review: "Down by the River: Drugs, Money, Murder, and Family," Charles Bowden (2002, Simon & Schuster, $27.00 HB) | Alert: HEA Reform Legislation Re-filed, Needs Your Support | Newsbrief: Mexican Anti-Drug Choppers Shot Down, Five Dead | Newsbrief: Colorado Kiddie Meth Bill Passes, Awaits Governor's Signature | Newsbrief: Colorado Legislators Ponder Plan to Cut Nonviolent Offender, Drug Sentences | Newsbrief: Illinois DA Makes Woman Meth Poster Child | Newsbrief: House Panel Goes After Federal Judge for Being Too Lenient on Drug Offenders | Newsbrief: Who Wants Drug Testing? Not Pennsylvania Cops, Not Colorado Teachers | Newsbrief: New Zealand Moves to Heighten Methamphetamine Penalties -- Life Sentences for Some Offenses | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]