U.S. Attorney Changes Minimum Prison Sentences - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

U.S. Attorney Changes Minimum Prison Sentences

Posted: Updated:
WASHINGTON, D.C. -

The U.S. Attorney General said some, non-violent drug offenders should not receive mandatory minimum prison sentences in federal court.

Attorney General Eric Holder is urging federal prosecutors to stop charging non-violent defendants with offenses carrying a minimum prison sentence.

U.S. Attorneys in Montana said prisons across the country are flooded with low-level drug offenders, costing taxpayers billions of dollars that should be spent elsewhere.

Federal officials said in Congress, there's already support for ending mandatory minimum sentences for some drug offenders.

U.S. Attorney for the District of Montana, Michael Cotter, said Holder's proposals won't change many federal court procedures in Montana.

Cotter said this is because his office has always been dedicated to prosecuting violent offenders who often use or possess weapons while trafficking drugs.

"A nonviolent offender would be someone, who perhaps might be a user, one who is nonviolent or who has not threatened anyone with violence," Cotter said.

Cotter said it makes sense for some individuals without a prior criminal history, or who use or threaten violence to receive a sentence other than a mandatory -- typically 5-year -- prison sentence.

He added, "It's important that we deter crime, but the system has to be established so that's there's frames in the system, so that mass incarceration is not the solution."

Cotter said in Montana, drug trafficking leaders who have ties to large-scale systems, like gangs or cartels, are the offenders better-suited to serve a minimum prison sentence -- or more.

Holder said prisons should be used to punish and rehabilitate, not warehouse and forget offenders.

"When individuals serve their time, that they can become productive members of society," Cotter said.

Under Holder's suggested changes, Cotter said federal prosecutors can still give a defendant the same drug charge -- those charges would simply not carry a minimum prison sentence.

"The federal prosecutors we have in the office will take the guidance to heart, and we'll follow the directions of the attorney general," Cotter said.

Just this past May, former University of Montana Grizzlies football player, Jason Washington, was sentenced to two years in federal prison in connection to his former medical marijuana business.

  • Most Popular

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    PHOTOS: Hobo Spider season has arrived

    Friday, August 29 2014 5:37 PM EDT2014-08-29 21:37:17 GMT
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
    KHQ.COM - Mid August is about the time that we start to see spiders come into our homes, particularly the hobo spider. August and September is mating season for the hobo and that means you may be seeing more funnel-like webs in and around your home. Males are on a mission to find a female which is why they are a lot more active at this time.
  • Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Cobell Settlement Checks Could Be Mailed By Fall 2014

    Friday, August 15 2014 9:03 PM EDT2014-08-16 01:03:47 GMT
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
    The people in charge of doling out money in the Cobell settlement want to put checks in the mail by this fall.
  • Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Seven Arrested in Kalispell Sex Sting

    Friday, August 22 2014 3:10 PM EDT2014-08-22 19:10:39 GMT
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
    A four-day online sex sting ends with the arrest of seven Flathead men for sexual abuse of children, and more arrests are pending.
  • Fatal Car Accident Near Belt

    Fatal Car Accident Near Belt

    An early morning car accident has taken the life of at one individual just outside of Great Falls.
    An early morning car accident has taken the life of at one individual just outside of Great Falls.
  • Suspect In Nine Mile Falls SWAT Standoff To Make First Court Appearance

    Suspect In Nine Mile Falls SWAT Standoff To Make First Court Appearance

    Monday, May 19 2014 11:50 AM EDT2014-05-19 15:50:48 GMT
    UPDATE: NINE MILE FALLS, Wash. - The man who triggered a SWAT standoff at a home in Nine Mile Falls, 43-year-old Blaze Smith, will make his first appearance in court on Monday. Law enforcement was attempting to recover a stolen vehicle when Smith decided to barricade himself inside a home.
    UPDATE: NINE MILE FALLS, Wash. - The man who triggered a SWAT standoff at a home in Nine Mile Falls, 43-year-old Blaze Smith, will make his first appearance in court on Monday. Law enforcement was attempting to recover a stolen vehicle when Smith decided to barricade himself inside a home.
  • 31-year-old Belt woman killed in accident

    31-year-old Belt woman killed in accident

    The Montana Highway Patrol says a 31-year-old Belt woman has died in a single-vehicle accident.
    The Montana Highway Patrol says a 31-year-old Belt woman has died in a single-vehicle accident.
  • UM Grads Invention Breaks Kickstarter Record

    UM Grads Invention Breaks Kickstarter Record

    Wednesday, August 27 2014 8:10 PM EDT2014-08-28 00:10:54 GMT
    A University of Montana graduate gets national attention, after his invention breaks a record on Kickstarter.com, a popular platform used to fund creative projects.
    A University of Montana graduate gets national attention, after his invention breaks a record on Kickstarter.com, a popular platform used to fund creative projects.
  • Thunderbird Major Jason Curtis Returns to Alma Mater, Flathead High School

    Thunderbird Major Jason Curtis Returns to Alma Mater, Flathead High School

    Saturday, August 30 2014 12:13 PM EDT2014-08-30 16:13:43 GMT
    Friday morning, Flathead High School's own "Flying Ace," Jason Curtis, stepped out of the cockpit to school students on the importance of having dreams and following goals.
    Friday morning, Flathead High School's own "Flying Ace," Jason Curtis, stepped out of the cockpit to school students on the importance of having dreams and following goals.
Powered by WorldNow

Features

  • More Features
  • Powered by WorldNow
    All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and Cowles Montana Media. All Rights Reserved. For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.