The defendant wanted his sentenced to be reduced according to the provisions indicated on newly amended Drug Reform Act. According to the defendant he will plead guilty to a drug crime of illegal possession of abused substances if the court will grant his request for reduced sentence.
The defendant supported his claim by declaring that the new amendments should cover all cases. This means that the new statutes should be recognized by the court as retroactive. The defendant committed his drug crime before the enactment date of the new provisions. The People opposed his request for coverage of the new sentencing guidelines. The court was tasked to determine if the defendant had legal basis for his request.
The defendant was charged by the court with drug possession during his trial. Based on previous records, the defendant had a prior felony charge before this case. During the trial of his case, the court recalled that the defendant filed a motion to stop the presentation of money and drugs seized from his property during the police investigation.
Bearing this in mind, the defendant’s prison term should be anywhere between 4 to 25 years if the court were to follow the old sentencing provisions before the amendments of the drug reform act. Under the new provisions, the defendant is faced with a shorter prison term due to the enactment of the terms of reduced sentencing.
The drug reform act was passed so that drug offenders with no previous record of violent crimes can have reduced sentences as mandated by law. The drug act was amended since the stipulated sentences for various drug crimes were now perceived as harsh. Shorter prison terms for non-violent offenders will give them the chance to be released earlier. A reduced sentence will also give them a second chance to change their life and become better citizens of society.
If a non-violent drug offender will be sentenced based on the old sentencing rules, he will not have the chance to reform his life. Criminal offenders convicted with longer prison terms would not have the chance to redeem themselves since they remain in prison probably for the rest of their lives. Having reduced sentences can help those who want to be reformed and get back to their families.
However, it should be noted that the new law seeks to change the terms of sentencing of different types of drug crimes. The new provisions will take effect on or after the day it was enacted and covers crimes committed on or after the said date. In the case of the defendant, he committed crimes before the new provisions were enacted. In simple circumstances, the defendant should not be granted a reduced sentence but his case is still pending before the court. He has not been convicted for his crimes.
Citing previous court decisions regarding similar cases, the ameliorative rule claimed by the defendant was declared as an exception to the general provision. According to a court decision from a previous case, a reduced prison term may be applied to cases after the date of enactment despite drug crimes committed before said date.
The court also reviewed cases of drug offenders who were not allowed reduced sentencing due to the difference in legal intent of the sentence. According to the new statute, if the intention of the sentencing was to prevent harsh punishment, the provisions should allow the ameliorative rule to be observed.
With a review of cases previously decided by the courts, it has become clear to the court that the defendant’s request has legal basis. The court grants the request of the defendant to have his sentence reduced.
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