Ridiculous CNMI Legislation Proposed

December 6, 2011

Just over a month after Rep. Raymond D. Palacios was arrested for  for trafficking methamphetamine (ice) his cousin, Rep. Joseph Palacios introduced a bill that would reduce the sentence of drug traffickers from 25 to 10 years.  What a pathetic excuse for a legislator.

Ice is a destructive drug, not just for the users, but for their families and the entire community.  If anything, a stronger mandatory sentence should be proposed.

The proposed bill, HR 17-249 states:
"Provided further that upon conviction of a first offense anywhere within the United States, the court may sentence anyone convicted to parole eligibility after serving one half of the ten year minimum sentence if the court specifically finds upon sufficient proof provided solely by the defendant, which the prosecution may dispute, that the interests of justice so require because all of the following factors are met: no firearms or minors were directly involved in the commission of the crime; and no personal injury or any significant property damage resulted directly from the commission of the crime; and the crime was not committed within 1000 feet of a school or public building; and the defendant was not on probation, parole, or any form of custody and the quantity trafficked is less than five grams total—inclusive of all counts.”
Wow. . .


Anonymous said...

He's right to do this. The mandatory 25-year sentence is what is ridiculous. As written, it applies to conduct that is barely culpable, if it all (like handing the drugs from the seller to the buyer, without even being part of the sale).

It shouldn't have taken the arrest of a legislator to bring this travesty of a law to the other legislators' attention, but at least something did.

This should be a cautionary tale to lawmakers not to enact overly harsh laws for the purpose of striking a public pose of being "tough on crime" -- next time it could be you.

Anonymous said...

Selling meth in the CNMI use to be viewed as a Chinese problem, and the 25 year minimum was enacted to punish the Chinese dealers. It is ironic that if someone has a firearm while selling drugs and the matter is heard in federal court, there will likely be a 5 year mandatory sentence, whereas fthe person is not carrying a firearm and the case is heard down the street in local court, they will be faced with a 25 year minimum. Since locals are now being caught selling drugs, the legislators realize that the dramatic dispartity in sentences from state and federal (or any U.S. state) are extremely disparate and need to be revisited. Plus having a legislator caught "buying for a friend" makes legislators take a second look as the disparity as well.

Anonymous said...

"Hell, Drew all these people up here are related!"

Anonymous said...

It's the timing stupid.

Anonymous said...

Noni 4:26PM:

You said: "next time it could be you."

Speak for yourself. Next time it will never be ME or 90% of the population! Unlike you we do not do ICE or handle it or sell it or traffic it!

25 years is TOO SHORT a time period!!!

You have no idea how many people's lives are tragically ruined by ICE HEAD DEALERS!!!

Anonymous said...

In Chine they put you to death even for small amount, just carrying.
Near the beginning of this year they put four Phil. to death. Two were women with young kids.
All were just "mules" and got caught with drugs sewn into their baggage.
They were paid by their recruiters in the Phil. They were paid between $100 and $300 (US)
This week China was supposed to put to death another one for transporting.
All were denied clemency even after the Phil President personally appeal for them.
There are at least 179 Phil on death row for drugs and hundreds more in prison, besides the rest of nationalities.
I only know about the Phil Cit. because it is in the Phil. papers on line.
Singapore and other Asian countries have many on death row also for drugs AND many are for small amounts.
So what is unfair compared to death for transporting.

Anonymous said...

The Philippines does not have a MANDATORY sentence for drug trafficking as high as the CNMI. In the Philippines, you can be sentenced to 12 years or less depending on the quanity and other factors, and there is no "mandatory" language in the drug statute, which means that theoretically, all jail time can be suspended.

Even in China, trafficking OVER 50 grams of heroin CAN carry a 15 year sentence.

I'm not sure that any place in the world has a 25 year MANDATORY sentence for selling a speck (.0000001 grams) of a drug with the exception of the CNMI. The new bill that Palacios is proposing would still ALLOW the Judge to impose a life sentence, or multiple life sentences if there were more than one offense, however the new bill would also ALLOW the Judge hearing the case to consider factors that nearly every country including the Philippines and China can consider when sentencing their offenders which MAY merit a sentence of less than 25 years without the possibility of parole.

Anonymous said...

In the Phil. they have on their books death sentence for drug trafficking but death sentence is never the case in a sentence.
In the Phil.(past) if you have the money you don't go to Jail.(stay in jail)
Just before this present Pres. Aquino, there was a big outcry over five "connected" that bought their way out.

Presently there have been almost weekly "busts" of Meth labs and they have been seizing large quantities in the amount of hundreds of kilo's and arresting scores of people of all nationalities.(Majority are Chinese)
The sentences being handed down are meaningful.
Many are life sentences

They also have arrested past Pres. Arroyo for "election fraud" (among other pending charges)and now have a warrant of arrest out for her husband for graft and corruption.
Now this current President has been "taking down" a lot of Judges, Military Generals, Customs and other politically connected people from every agency.
Also at the age of 70yrs most convicts have their sentence commuted by the sitting President

The CNMI politicians and "connected" mirrors the Phil.in the past, on a smaller scale, from almost everything it does. Including the many of the same names involved in the corruption
But in the CNMI they don't have the "finesse" to accomplish it as well.

Anonymous said...

@ anon 12:48

Actually, the Philippines technically imposes a life sentence or death for drug trafficking. You are correct however about the mandatory provision in the CNMI. When someone is sentenced in the Philippines to "life in prison", they do not necessarily serve life in prison, and they are eligible for release from the parole board at any time. They can also immediately after sentenceing apply for an alternative sentence in a treatment facility.

In the CNMI, the mandatory 25 year sentence is just that, 25 years to actually serve. Absent a pardon from the Governor, the inmate cannot be released by the parole board early, nor are they eligible for special treatment programs. Even after a detailed explanation, people still don't understand that the "mandatory", no shot at parole provision in the CNMI is what makes it 25 years greater than almost every U.S. state and the Philippines.