We duly note on a page of our website at the tenured Denver criminal defense law firm of Shazam Kianpour & Associates that the federal legal system involves an “ever-present risk.”
Actually, readers delving into our site will readily see that the American justice system at the federal level features a number of outsized risks and challenges for criminal defendants.
For starters, it is comparatively complex relative to the various state systems, including Colorado’s charging and sentencing scheme. On top of that, federal task forces engaged in probes command plenary powers and resources that are simply unavailable at the state level.
And then there is this: penalties pursued by prosecutors and resulting sentencing outcomes are commonly far harsher than is the case in state judicial matters, even for the same or closely similar charges.
That has long been especially true with drug-linked offenses, even relatively insignificant crimes. As a recent article spotlighting that subject matter notes, there are “too many stories … of mid-level or low-level offenders sentenced to decades, even life, behind bars.”
Various sources, including our blog, have occasionally sounded the refrain that growing bipartisan support has broadly emerged across the country in favor of material sentencing reforms relative to minor drug crimes. Who can reasonably argue that a life sentence without parole is merited for a first-time drug offender with no prior history of violence or wrongdoing?
Reportedly, there are about 2,000 inmates nationally who are locked up for life with no possibility of release following their conviction on drug charges. It seems eminently clear that many of their fates need to be revisited, along with the policies that sanction such harsh outcomes generally.