These are trying times for federal drug defendants as Attorney General Jeff Sessions has initiated a number of policy moves to increase the application of mandatory minimum drug sentences which had been effectively put on hold by the Obama Administration.
However, a bipartisan movement of legislators is taking a stand against such actions. Senators Rand Paul (R-KY), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR), and Reps. Bobby Scott (D-VA) and Thomas Massie (R-KY) reintroduced the Justice Safety Valve Act this week.
It would amend 18 U.S.C 3553(a) to provide: "Notwithstanding any provision of law other than this subsection, the court may impose a sentence below a statutory minimum if the court finds that it is necessary to do so in order to avoid violating the requirements of subsection (a)." This would effectively allow judges to sentence below the mandatory minimum sentences where appropriate.