Letter of Commendation to Senator Paul

NOTE: Last week, I wrote of Senator Rand Paul’s support for the “The Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013″ and his positions on other criminal justice issues (see article immediately below). Here is the letter i sent to him (as promised), for publication, and your consideration.


April 1, 2013

208 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC, 20510

Dear Senator Paul,

I am writing as a retired California Judge, and editor of a small internet site focused on prison reform (“reentrycourtsolutions.com” ).

I wish to commend you for your co-authoring of “The Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013″, a federal prison reform bill, with Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont.  I was heartened by your position against federal mandatory sentencing in that bill as well as your position that too many offenders are being sent to federal prisons for terms that are out of proportion to the offenses committed.

As someone who favors prison reform, I sincerely hope that you will continue to speak out on criminal justice and prison reform issues. I believe that your positions on these and other criminal justice issues are placing you at the forefront of those concerned about the ascendance of oppressive practices that threaten out constitutional rights and threaten our personal liberties.

Judge Jeffrey Tauber (ret.)

Editor, Reentry Court Solutions

Senate Bill to modfiy Mandatory Minimums

Sen. Rand Paul photo rand-paul.jpgTwo sentators, Leahy of Vermont, and Rand of Kentucky, have introduced far-reaching legislation, “The Justice Safety Valve Act of 2013”. The bill, if passed, gives federal judges greater latitude in making sentencing decisions.  Ultimately, this could be the beginning of the end of “Federal Mandatory Minimums”.

What is so extraordinary about this effort is not that Democratic Senator Leahy has introduced the bill, or that it is bipartisan effort, but who the republican co-sponsor of the bill is. Rand Paul has been making a name for himself, taking libertarian stands on everything from filibustering  the use of drones within the U.S., to adocating for non-custodial sentences for marijuana users . His championing of flexibility for federal judges’ sentencing, should be a clear sign to the right that this is a safe position to take in the battle over prison reform.

Paul is quoted as saying “Our country’s mandatory minimum laws reflect a Washington-knows-best, one-size-fits-all approach, which undermines the Constitutional Separation of Powers, violates the our bedrock principle that people should be treated as individuals, and costs the taxpayers money without making them any safer. This bill is necessary to combat the explosion of new federal criminal laws, many of which carry new mandatory minimum penalties.”

 I could not have said it any better. Alllies sometimes come from the strangest places. I am going to write him a letter, thanking him for taking his position on federal manatory minimums. This might be a good use of your time as well. I’ll release mine, when the next edition of RCS is published, next Monday,

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