Import Temp

Louisiana Passes Sweeping Drug Law Reform

Legislative Coalition of Civil Rights Leaders, Fiscal Conservatives Join to Repeal Harsh

Louisiana, whose notoriously severe drug laws are largely responsible for giving it the highest incarceration rate in the country, passed dramatic drug reform legislation last week - joining the rising chorus of states rejecting the drug war's "lock 'em up" approach to drug abuse.

Among other changes, the drug reform legislation:

  • Eliminates Louisiana's heroin and cocaine "lifer" laws, which mandate life with no possibility of parole for distribution of any amount of heroin (now five to 50 years) or for manufacturing cocaine (now ten to 30 years);
  • Reduc

Tony Newman at 212-548-0383

The New Anti-War Movement Heats Up

Country's Leading Drug Reformer to Discuss the Failing War on Drugs

Two major shifts are taking place in America's War on Drugs. In recent months, several highly respected political leaders, including Secretary of State Colin Powell, former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson, New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, have openly questioned the damage done to our society by the War on Drugs. Bush administration officials seem to be headed in precisely the opposite direction.

Julie Ruckel at 415-921-4987

Local and National Organizations Say

ACLU, NAACP, and Civil Rights Leaders Join Friends of Justice to Mark Second Anniversary of Drug Raid, Support Local Victims of War on Drugs

TULIA, TEXAS - Today, the Friends of Justice - an organization in Tulia, Texas that offers support to local victims of the war on drugs - announced that the ACLU and the NAACP will be joining them in a Freedom Ride and Never Again Rally. The events are being held to mark the two-year anniversary of the drug raid that swept up half of the town's male African-American population.

Tracey Hayes at 512-493-7357 or Alan Bean at 806-995-3353

Downey Jr. to Receive Treatment, Not Prison For Non-Violent Drug Possession

Actor Diverted Under Prop. 36 - California's Historic New Treatment Instead of Incarceration Ballot Measure
Drug Policy Reformers Say Prop. 36 Is Already Working, Focus Should Now Turn to Finding Most Effective Treatments

Under the terms of California's landmark Proposition 36, Robert Downey Jr. will not be going to prison for his drug addiction, a court ruled today. The actor, who entered a plea of "no contest" to cocaine possession charges, was instead sentenced to one year of residential drug treatment.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 x 1383 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Potential New DEA Head Applauded by Leading Drug Policy Reform Advocates

Hutchinson Also Urged to Allow Doctors and Medical Organizations

(Washington, DC) -- Despite his firm record in support of the war on drugs, U.S. Rep. Asa Hutchinson made several statements today at his confirmation hearing to head the Drug Enforcement Administration supporting a review of changes in drug policy.

Under questioning from Senator Patrick Leahy, the chair of the Judiciary Committee, Hutchinson stated that he "would support a review by Congress" of mandatory minimum prison sentences. In addition, he reiterated his long time support of ending racial profiling.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Court to Hear Case Which Threatens Doctor - Patient Relationship

Major Medical Organizations Insist That Hospital Drug Tested Pregnant Women Without Informed Consent
U.S. Supreme Court Agreed that Tests Were Illegal Search and Asks Lower Court to Decide Consent Issue

On January 22, 2002, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Virginia will hear oral arguments in the case Ferguson v. Charleston to decide whether pregnant women who were drug tested by a public hospital in collaboration with the police, consented to the testing. Major medical organizations argue that to interpret consents to medical tests as if they were consents to law enforcement searches undermines the health-care-patient relationship and threatens basic principles of privacy and medical decision making. This follows the U.S.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 x 1383 or Dani McClain at 212-548-0611

Governor Pataki's Rockefeller Drug Law Proposal Good First Step but not Real Reform, Critics Say

Proposal Needs to Restore Judicial Discretion, Broaden Retroactivity and Increase Treatment but Leading Drug Policy Reform Organization Sees it as a Platform for Change

The Lindesmith Center-Drug Policy Foundation (TLC-DPF), the leading drug policy reform organization in the United States, commends New York Governor George Pataki for joining the growing number of public officials who are willing to call into question the needlessly punitive drug sentencing policies of the past and promote legislation that recognizes the effectiveness of drug treatment over incarceration. Enacted in 1973, the Rockefeller Drug Laws and Second Felony Offender Laws mandate sentences for drug offenses that are among the most punitive in the nation.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 x 1383 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Governor Pataki Unveils Proposal to Reform New York's Rockefeller Drug Laws

Leading Advocates for Reform Commend the Governor's Proposal but Call on Legislative Leaders to Provide More Money for Alternatives to Incarceration Including Drug Treatment

The Campaign for Effective Criminal Justice, an organization of over a dozen distinguished leaders in law enforcement, politics, business, and clergy intent on reforming New York's drug sentencing laws, commends Governor Pataki for proposing legislation to reform the state's Rockefeller Drug Laws.

Sen. John Dunne at 518-787-7600 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Ashcroft Administration Worked With Feds to Circumvent Missouri Law

Former Governor Allowed State Police to Keep Money from Seized Assets that Should Have Gone to Schools; Tactics Were Later Said to 'Violate the Missouri Constitution' by Federal Appeals Court
Critics Charge Ashcroft is Way out of Step with Mainstream Americans on the Drug War, May Be Unwilling to Enforce Laws He Doesn

Under the leadership of then-Governor John Ashcroft, Missouri officials including the state highway patrol worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration to circumvent a provision of the Missouri Constitution requiring the proceeds of "asset forfeiture" to go to schools rather than to the police, syndicated columnist Arianna Huffington reported yesterday.

Asset forfeiture (the legal term for government seizure of private property belonging to citizens suspected of criminal activity) is used overwhelmingly in drug cases.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 x 1383 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6916

Nation's Leading Drug Policy Reform Organization Now Called Drug Policy Alliance

The Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation Becomes Drug Policy Alliance, Continues to Work Towards Rational, Humane Alternatives to War on Drugs

Drug Policy Alliance is the new name of The Lindesmith Center - Drug Policy Foundation, the nation's leading drug policy reform organization. The Alliance will continue the mission of Lindesmith-DPF, broadening the public debate on drug policy and promoting realistic alternatives to the war on drugs based on science, compassion, public health and human rights.

Tony Newman at 510-208-7711 or Shayna Samuels at 212-547-6961
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