The federal government's War on Drugs rages on in the U.S. and the Pittsburgh area is not excluded from this campaign. Residents found guilty of drug possession or trafficking in federal court can expect to face potentially severe punishment under federal sentencing guidelines, which often include mandatory minimums. These congressionally-created guidelines often result in judges' ability to consider a defendant's individual circumstances are strictly limited.
In a major victory for people accused of drug crimes, many people serving time for federal drug charges may soon be eligible for a reduced sentence thanks to a recent decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
A federal grand jury has found a 35-year-old Pennsylvania man guilty of bank fraud and identity theft. The man was accused of being at the center of an identity theft conspiracy that may have stolen as much as $1 million.
When a person is convicted of a federal crime, a judge determines the person's sentence based on the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. The guidelines can be quite strict, especially for white collar crimes, and they do not give a sentencing judge much discretion about what type of sentence a defendant should receive.
This month, new federal sentencing guidelines went into effect that will change the way crack cocaine and powder cocaine offenses are punished in the federal system. The changes are a response to the Fair Sentencing Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by President Obama in August. The Fair Sentencing Act was intended to equalize sentences in cases involving crack cocaine with cases involving powder cocaine.
This month, the U.S. sentencing guidelines changed in an important way that will affect many older Americans convicted of white-collar crimes. The guidelines changed in a way that gives sentencing judges more latitude in considering a defendant's age when assigning a sentence.