Monday, July 20, 2015

"Probation Generally Available"

Also from Kirk --


The SAFE Justice Reinvestment Act of 2015 is quite the thing. We will cover separate parts in separate posts. But the Act hits the reset button on the federal criminal justice system. Boehner endorses it. So does Obama. So does the Police Foundation. Speculation is that the bill will pass. It has “more momentum that anyone realizes.”

Let’s start with Section 302 of the Act. Subsection (a)(1) begins with the words “Probation Generally Available”. It really does. Here is the language.

(a) In General.—
“(1) PROBATION GENERALLY AVAILABLE.—Except as provided in paragraph (2), a defendant who has been found guilty of an offense may be sentenced to probation.
“(2) GENERAL EXCEPTIONS.—A defendant may not be sentenced to probation if—
“(A) the offense is a Class A or Class B felony and the defendant is an individual;
“(B) the offense is an offense for which probation has been expressly precluded; or
“(C) the defendant is sentenced at the same time to a term of imprisonment for the same or a different offense that is not a petty offense.
“(3) PRESUMPTION OF PROBATION FOR CERTAIN OFFENDERS.—The court shall sentence an otherwise eligible defendant to probation, if the defendant is a first-time Federal offender whose place of residence allows for Federal probation supervision and who did not engage in violent conduct as a part of the offense, unless the court, having considered the nature and circumstances of the offense and the history and characteristics of the defendant, finds on the record that a term of probation would not be appropriate. However, a defendant convicted of a Federal sex offense, as described in section 111 of the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, is not subject to a presumption of probation under this paragraph.”

Probation. Okay, then.

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