Tuesday, November 28, 2017
"Interesting Eighth Amendment attack waged against extreme application of Tennessee's "Drug Free School Zone" law"
Doug Berman has this post at Sentencing Law & Policy, excerpting a critique of the Tennessee law. From the excerpt:
Even though it was a first-time, non-violent offense — Mr. Bryant had no other criminal history of any kind — because Mr. Bryant’s residence was located within 1,000 feet of a school, Mr. Bryant received a mandatory minimum sentence of seventeen (17) years in prison. As a result, Mr. Bryant received a considerably longer sentence for committing a first-time, non-violent drug offense than he would have received if he had committed a severe, violent crime such as Rape, Second Degree Murder, Aggravated Robbery, Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, or Attempted First Degree Murder. Mr. Bryant has been incarcerated for the past decade. He has at least six years in prison left to serve.
. . .
Tennessee’s intensely punitive Drug Free School Zone law was designed to keep drugs away from children. Nobody disputes that this is a laudable goal. However, many people, including several elected officials and judges in Tennessee, have disputed whether the law was ever intended to apply to drug sales between adults inside an adult’s residence and outside of school hours — especially when a government informant has set up a drug transaction inside a school zone on purpose....