Sentence Reform Acts: S.2123 and H.R. 3713 [October 14, 2015]   [open pdf - 643KB]

"As introduced, the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act of 2015, S. 2123, and the Sentencing Reform Act of 2015, H.R. 3713, use virtually identical language to reduce the impact of the mandatory minimum sentences which federal courts must now impose for certain drug trafficking and firearms offenses. [The following are the] [k]ey [t]akeaways: [1] Existing law requires long minimum sentences for certain drug traffickers who have prior drug convictions. S. 2123 and H.R. 3713 would shorten the mandatory minimums, but apply them for both prior drug and violent felony convictions. [2] The safety valve permits judges to ignore mandatory minimums for certain lowlevel, nonviolent drug traffickers with virtually no criminal record. The bills would make the safety valve available to traffickers with slightly more serious criminal records. [3] The bills would establish a mini-safety valve which would permit judges to treat the 10-year drug trafficking mandatory minimums as if they were 5-year mandatory minimums for the benefit of nonviolent defendants with no prior serious drug or violent crime convictions. [4] The proposals would permit retroactive application of the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act crack/powder cocaine amendments under some circumstances. [5] S. 2123 and H.R. 3713 would reduce the Armed Career Criminal mandatory minimum to 10 years from 15 years. [6] The bills would increase to 15 years the maximum penalties for possession of a firearm by a felon and various other firearms offenses. [7] H.R. 3713, but not S. 2123, would add a consecutive term of imprisonment for not more than five years to the mandatory minimums in drug trafficking cases which involve heroin or fentanyl (a heroin cutter and counterfeit). [8] S. 2123, but not H.R. 3713, would establish new mandatory minimums for certain interstate domestic violence offenses and International Economic Emergency Powers Act (IEEPA) violations. [9] S. 2123, but not H.R. 3713, would direct the Attorney General to prepare an inventory of federal statutory crimes and various federal agencies to prepare a comparable inventory of federal regulatory offenses."

Report Number:
CRS Report for Congress, R44226
Public Domain
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Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html
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