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Drug crime sentencing not yet resolved

In Nebraska, state lawmakers have been at odds with law enforcement teams and criminal prosecutors for some time now regarding sentencing guidelines for select offenses and there appears to be no end in sight to the issue just yet. Specifically, the groups are arguing over whether or not there should be mandatory minimum sentences for some drug crimes. Some more serious offenses are not included in the debate.

One areas of concern for lawmakers is the overcrowding known and acknowledged to be a problem in the state's prisons and jails. Another area of concern they cite is that mandatory minimum sentences prevent a person from being eligible for early release based upon their good behavior while incarcerated. Finally, lawmakers assert that using these predefined criminal sentences prevents and eliminates judge discretion. Instead they say that judges should be able to assign a sentence based on the facts of an individual case.

On the other side of the issue, prosecutors say that mandatory minimum sentences are good and may even help to prevent or deter crimes. This is something that the lawmakers are not in agreement with and they have cited many statistics that they say support their position.

Nebraska residents who have been charged with some type of drug crime may want to talk with an attorney to understand the potential ramifications, including any mandatory minimum sentence, if they are ultimately convicted of their charges.

Source: Lincoln Journal Star, "Still deep disagreement over lawmakers determining mandatory minimum sentences," JoAnne Young, September 18, 2017

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