Thursday, September 12, 2013

Massachusetts and Rep. Waters Support Sentencing Reform

LEGAL VICTORY regarding retroactive application of sentencing reform laws! When Mr. Galvin was charged for a drug offense in the State of Massachusetts, the mandatory minimum sentence for his offense was 5 years. However, the mandatory minimum was reduced to 3.5 years in 2012 by the State Legislature, and that was before Galvin's conviction. An amended statute is not usually retroactive and only applies to cases initiated after the amendment has passed. The court noted, however, that this rule does NOT apply where a lack of retroactivity would cause a result that is inconsistent with the intent of the law.

When the prosecution appealed Galvin's sentence, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts held that the trial judge was correct in sentencing defendant Galvin to the new mandatory minimum sentence associated with his drug offense (3.5 years) although Galvin was charged with the crime before the new minimum sentence went into effect. Therefore, the crime bill was applied retroactively to offenders who were charged but not sentenced before the new law.

The Galvin case was successfully argued by criminal defense attorney David S. Levinson. His website proclaims him to be a dedicated Massachusetts lawyer who is responsive to his clients' legal needs in life's tougher times. It goes on to say, "David S. Levinson, Attorney at Law, is dedicated to meeting the legal needs of individuals confronted with obstacles such as criminal and DWI charges and bankruptcy. He assists people seeking help in the following areas: Criminal law, Bankruptcy, DWI/OUI." Levinson proved his dedication by fighting for his client Galvin all the way to the State Supreme Court, where he prevailed. Phone David Levinson at 508-315-6838.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-CA) has introduced a bill to eliminate all federal mandatory minimum sentences. She announced her new bill in the following statement:

"Today, I reintroduced a bill that would eliminate mandatory minimums from federal law. Mandatory minimum sentences have not reduced drug use and have contributed to exploding prison populations. The Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act of 2013 would re-focus federal resources to prosecute major drug kingpins and give courts and judges the authority to use greater discretion to make individualized determinations rather than being held to a stringent sentencing requirement prescribed by Congress."

Congratulations to Rep. Waters for taking this important step to decrease mass incarceration. Everybody is encouraged to write to their congressional representatives and ask them to co-sponsor and support the Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act of 2013. It will be a huge legal victory for the entire nation if this bill becomes law. In August, The New York Times reported that the annual cost for imprisoning a single inmate in New York City is $168,000. Many people who work in the justice system, law enforcement, and corrections agree that it is time to end the War on Drugs and return sentencing decisions to local criminal courts. On August 15, 2013, Huffington Post reported:

"The largest prison and corrections association threw its weight behind mandatory minimum sentencing reform this week, offering support for a plan to overhaul parts of the justice system at both the state and federal levels. At its annual conference in Maryland, members of the American Correctional Association adopted a resolution addressing the need to step back from a penal code that regularly forces federal and state judges to hand down harsh sentences for nonviolent crimes."

Contact your congressional representatives at the link below. If your representative refuses to support sentencing reform, assume he/she is a prison investor.

Attorney Daniel Cappetta is congratulated for publishing news about the Massachusetts crime law being applied retroactively in his blog at He is an experienced criminal defense attorney and invites interested persons to a free consultation. Cappetta Law Offices can be reached by phone at (508) 762-4540.

"Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour.
~ 1 Peter 5:8-9.

Please get off drugs. Only free people can free people.

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