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Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah File Amicus Brief on Behalf of The Constitution Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, and NACDL

Emma Quinn-Judge and Monica Shah recently filed an amicus brief on behalf of three national voices on criminal justice reform – The Constitution Project, the Drug Policy Alliance, and the National Association for Criminal Defense Lawyers – in Commonwealth v. Laltaprasad, a case which will be argued before the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on April 5, 2016. The case involves the question of whether Massachusetts’ law contains a safety valve allowing a criminal defendant relief from harsh mandatory minimum penalties in cases involving mitigating circumstances.  In the brief, amici provide context to the Massachusetts law by explaining that a national consensus has emerged that strict mandatory minimum sentencing schemes fail to effectuate the basic purposes of sentencing, and that, as a result, the federal government and at least twenty-nine states have statutes that provide judicial discretion to depart below certain mandatory minimum sentences.

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