Text: H.R.3088 — 113th Congress (2013-2014)All Bill Information (Except Text)

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Introduced in House (09/12/2013)


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[Congressional Bills 113th Congress]
[From the U.S. Government Printing Office]
[H.R. 3088 Introduced in House (IH)]

113th CONGRESS
  1st Session
                                H. R. 3088

   To concentrate Federal resources aimed at the prosecution of drug 
               offenses on those offenses that are major.


_______________________________________________________________________


                    IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

                           September 12, 2013

Ms. Waters (for herself, Mr. Ellison, Mr. Lewis, Ms. Norton, Ms. Brown 
 of Florida, Mr. Rush, Mr. Cardenas, Mr. Carson of Indiana, Mr. Cohen, 
 Mr. Quigley, Mr. Payne, and Ms. Jackson Lee) introduced the following 
  bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in 
 addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be 
subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration 
  of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee 
                               concerned

_______________________________________________________________________

                                 A BILL


 
   To concentrate Federal resources aimed at the prosecution of drug 
               offenses on those offenses that are major.

    Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the 
United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution 
Act of 2013''.

SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

    Congress makes the following findings:
            (1) Mandatory minimum sentences are statutorily prescribed 
        terms of imprisonment that automatically attach upon conviction 
        of certain criminal conduct, usually pertaining to drug or 
        firearm offenses. Absent very narrow criteria for relief, a 
        sentencing judge is powerless to mandate a term of imprisonment 
        below the mandatory minimum. Mandatory minimum sentences for 
        drug offenses rely solely upon the weight of the substance as a 
        proxy for the degree of involvement of a defendant's role.
            (2) In the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, and at the height 
        of the public outcry over crack cocaine, Congress acted 
        hastily, without sufficient hearings, and enacted hard line 
        penalties that targeted low-level drug offenders. These 
        penalties included new, long mandatory minimum sentences for 
        such offenders.
            (3) According to the Bureau of Prisons, in 1986, when the 
        new drug law containing lengthy mandatory minimum sentences 
        passed, the prison population was 36,000. Today, the Federal 
        prison population is over 215,000 prisoners, up almost 600 
        percent in 26 years.
            (4) According to the Bureau of Prisons, the cost to keep 
        one prisoner in Federal prison for one year is approximately 
        $26,000.
            (5) According to the Department of Justice, since the 
        enactment of mandatory minimum sentencing for drug users, the 
        Federal Bureau of Prisons budget increased from $994 million in 
        1987 to almost $6.2 billion in 2009.
            (6) According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, between 
        1995 and 2010, over 400,000 drug offenders were sentenced under 
        Federal law; of these, almost 250,000 (61 percent) received 
        mandatory minimum sentences.
            (7) According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, drug 
        offenders released from prison in 1986 who had been sentenced 
        before the adoption of mandatory sentences and sentencing 
        guidelines had served an average of 22 months in prison. In 
        2010, almost two-thirds of all drug offenders received a 
        mandatory sentence, with most receiving a 10-year minimum. Most 
        of these offenders are nonviolent or lower-level offenders with 
        little or no criminal history: in 2010, 51.6 percent had few or 
        no prior convictions, 83.6 percent did not have weapons 
        involved in their offense, and only 6 percent were considered 
        leaders, managers, or supervisors of drug operations.
            (8) Mandatory minimum sentences have consistently been 
        shown to have a disproportionate impact on African-Americans. 
        The United States Sentencing Commission, in a 15-year overview 
        of the Federal sentencing system, concluded that ``mandatory 
        penalty statutes are used inconsistently'' and 
        disproportionately affect African-American defendants. African-
        American drug defendants are 20 percent more likely to be 
        sentenced to prison than White drug defendants.
            (9) According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, between 
        1994 and 2003, the average time served by African-Americans for 
        a drug offense increased by 62 percent, compared to a 17 
        percent increase among White drug defendants.
            (10) According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health 
        Services Administration, government surveys document that drug 
        use is roughly consistent across racial and ethnic groups. 
        While there is less data available regarding drug sellers, 
        research from the Office of National Drug Control Policy and 
        the National Institute of Justice has found that drug users 
        generally buy drugs from someone of their own racial or ethnic 
        background. But, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, 
        over 70 percent of all Federal narcotics offenders sentenced 
        each year are African-Americans and Hispanic Americans, many of 
        whom are low-level offenders.
            (11) As a result of Federal prosecutors' focus on low-level 
        drug offenders, the overwhelming majority of individuals 
        subject to the heightened crack cocaine penalties are African-
        American. According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission's 2007 
        Report to Congress on crack cocaine, only 8.8 percent of 
        Federal crack cocaine convictions were imposed on White 
        Americans, while 81.8 percent and 8.4 percent were imposed on 
        African-American and Hispanics, respectively.
            (12) According to the U.S. Census, African-Americans 
        comprise 12 percent of the U.S. population and, according to 
        the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 
        about 10 percent of all drug users, but almost 30 percent of 
        all Federal drug convictions according to the U.S. Sentencing 
        Commission.
            (13) According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, African-
        Americans, on average, now serve almost as much time in Federal 
        prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as Whites do for a 
        violent offense (61.7 months).
            (14) According to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, in 2010, 
        almost 30 percent of women entering Federal prison did so for a 
        drug offense. Linking drug quantity with punishment severity 
        has had a particularly profound impact on women, who are more 
        likely to play peripheral roles in a drug enterprise than men. 
        However, because prosecutors can attach drug quantities to an 
        individual regardless of the level of a defendant's 
        participation in the charged offense, women have been exposed 
        to increasingly punitive sentences to incarceration.
            (15) Low-level and mid-level drug offenders can be 
        adequately prosecuted by the States and punished or supervised 
        in treatment as appropriate.
            (16) The Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Homeland 
        Security are the agencies with the greatest capacity to 
        investigate, prosecute and dismantle the highest level of drug 
        trafficking organizations. Low-level drug offender 
        investigations and prosecutions divert Federal personnel and 
        resources from prosecuting high-level traffickers.
            (17) Congress must have the most current information on the 
        number of prosecutions of high-level and low-level drug 
        offenders in order to properly reauthorize Federal drug 
        enforcement programs.
            (18) Congress has an obligation to taxpayers to use 
        sentencing policies that are cost-effective and increase public 
        safety, in addition to establishing a criminal justice system 
        that is fair, efficient and provides just sentences for 
        offenders. Mandatory sentences have not been conclusively shown 
        to reduce recidivism or deter crime.
            (19) Prisons are important and expensive; the limited 
        resources in the Federal criminal justice system should be used 
        to protect society by incapacitating dangerous and violent 
        offenders who pose a threat to public safety. The Federal 
        judiciary has the expertise and is in the best position to 
        sentence each offender and determine who should be sent to 
        Federal prisons and the amount of time each offender should 
        serve.

SEC. 3. APPROVAL OF CERTAIN PROSECUTIONS BY ATTORNEY GENERAL.

    A Federal prosecution for an offense under the Controlled 
Substances Act, the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act, or for 
any conspiracy to commit such an offense, where the offense involves 
the illegal distribution or possession of a controlled substance in an 
amount less than that amount specified as a minimum for an offense 
under section 401(b)(1)(A) of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 
841(b)(1)(A)) or, in the case of any substance containing cocaine or 
cocaine base, in an amount less than 500 grams, shall not be commenced 
without the prior written approval of the Attorney General.

SEC. 4. MODIFICATION OF CERTAIN SENTENCING PROVISIONS.

    (a) Section 404.--Section 404(a) of the Controlled Substances Act 
(21 U.S.C. 844(a)) is amended--
            (1) by striking ``not less than 15 days but'';
            (2) by striking ``not less than 90 days but''; and
            (3) by striking the sentence beginning ``The imposition or 
        execution of a minimum sentence''.
    (b) Section 401.--Section 401(b) of the Controlled Substances Act 
(21 U.S.C. 841(b)) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1)(A)--
                    (A) by striking ``which may not be less than 10 
                years and or more than'' and inserting ``for any term 
                of years or for'';
                    (B) by striking ``and if death'' the first place it 
                appears and all that follows through ``20 years or more 
                than life'' the first place it appears;
                    (C) by striking ``which may not be less than 20 
                years and not more than life imprisonment'' and 
                inserting ``for any term of years or for life'';
                    (D) by inserting ``imprisonment for any term of 
                years or'' after ``if death or serious bodily injury 
                results from the use of such substance shall be 
                sentenced to'';
                    (E) by striking the sentence beginning ``If any 
                person commits a violation of this subparagraph''; and
                    (F) by striking the sentence beginning 
                ``Notwithstanding any other provision of law'' and the 
                sentence beginning ``No person sentenced''; and
            (2) in paragraph (1)(B)--
                    (A) by striking ``which may not be less than 5 
                years and'' and inserting ``for'';
                    (B) by striking ``not less than 20 years or more 
                than'' and inserting ``for any term of years or to'';
                    (C) by striking ``which may not be less than 10 
                years and more than'' and inserting ``for any term of 
                years or for'';
                    (D) by inserting ``imprisonment for any term of 
                years or to'' after ``if death or serious bodily injury 
                results from the use of such substance shall be 
                sentenced to''; and
                    (E) by striking the sentence beginning 
                ``Notwithstanding any other provision of law''.
    (c) Section 1010.--Section 1010(b) of the Controlled Substances 
Import and Export Act (21 U.S.C. 960(b)) is amended--
            (1) in paragraph (1)--
                    (A) by striking ``of not less than 10 years and not 
                more than'' and inserting ``for any term of years or 
                for'';
                    (B) by striking ``and if death'' the first place it 
                appears and all that follows through ``20 years and not 
                more than life'' the first place it appears;
                    (C) by striking ``of not less than 20 years and not 
                more than life imprisonment'' and inserting ``for any 
                term of years or for life'';
                    (D) by inserting ``imprisonment for any term of 
                years or to'' after ``if death or serious bodily injury 
                results from the use of such substance shall be 
                sentenced to''; and
                    (E) by striking the sentence beginning 
                ``Notwithstanding any other provision of law''; and
            (2) in paragraph (2)--
                    (A) by striking ``not less than 5 years and'';
                    (B) by striking ``of not less than twenty years and 
                not more than'' and inserting ``for any term of years 
                or for'';
                    (C) by striking ``of not less than 10 years and not 
                more than'' and inserting ``for any term of years or 
                to'';
                    (D) by inserting ``imprisonment for any term of 
                years or to'' after ``if death or serious bodily injury 
                results from the use of such substance shall be 
                sentenced to''; and
                    (E) by striking the sentence beginning 
                ``Notwithstanding any other provision of law''.
    (d) Section 418.--Section 418 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 
U.S.C. 859) is amended by striking the sentence beginning ``Except to 
the extent'' each place it appears and by striking the sentence 
beginning ``The mandatory minimum''.
    (e) Section 419.--Section 419 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 
U.S.C. 860) is amended by striking the sentence beginning ``Except to 
the extent'' each place it appears and by striking the sentence 
beginning ``The mandatory minimum''.
    (f) Section 420.--Section 420 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 
U.S.C. 861) is amended--
            (1) in each of subsections (b) and (c), by striking the 
        sentence beginning ``Except to the extent'';
            (2) by striking subsection (e); and
            (3) in subsection (f), by striking ``, (c), and (e)'' and 
        inserting ``and (c)''.
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