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  Proposal Would Rewrite Many Kentucky Drug Laws
Posted by CN Staff on January 19, 2011 at 05:30:41 PT
By The Associated Press 
Source: Associated Press 

justice Frankfort, Ky. -- A state committee appointed to find cheaper alternatives to prison is proposing reforms to Kentucky's drug laws.

The Task Force on the Penal Code and Controlled Substances Act met Tuesday to discuss a draft of the proposed changes, which included sentencing most people convicted of drug crimes to probation and treatment. A draft bill will be presented Wednesday to the legislature's Interim Joint Committee on the Judiciary.

Other proposed changes include reclassifying marijuana possession to a lesser offense, changing drug trafficking laws to allow longer sentences for larger amounts of drugs and shorter sentences for lesser amounts of drugs, and creating a new type of offense for people convicted of "commercial drug trafficking."

Task force members say they want long prison sentences for high-volume drug dealers but not necessarily for addicts, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.

Out of Kentucky's nearly 21,000 inmates, one-fourth are being held for drug offenses.

One proposed change would require judges to sentence defendants to probation rather than prison for some lesser offenses, unless the judge specifies a compelling reason otherwise.

Those convicted of drug possession would be required to undergo addiction treatment.

The maximum penalty for marijuana possession would drop from one year to 45 days.

The proposal would tighten the offense of drug trafficking near a school, making it applicable if a drug crime occurred within 1,000 feet of a school, compared with 1,000 yards now.

The bill would set the amount of drugs necessary to draw stronger penalties for possession and trafficking at 4 grams for most drugs and 2 grams for methamphetamines.

Jennifer Hatfield of the Kentucky State Police crime laboratory told the task force that it would take 133 oxycodone tablets to amount to 4 grams.

Prosecutors would face an unrealistic burden with the 4-gram threshold, task force member and former commonwealth's attorney Tom Handy told the panel.

"The trafficker is being given way too many breaks," Handy said.

J. Guthrie True, a defense attorney and a member of the task force, said the point of the bill is to separate addicts from hardened criminals and that at a cost of $19,000 a year to send someone to prison, the state needs to be more selective.

"I'm afraid that if we don't do this, then we'll lose a lot of what we want to do here in terms of putting the right people in prison for the right lengths of time," True said.

The bill would also require any legislation to create new crimes or increase penalties for existing crimes to include an estimate of the additional cost of housing or supervising more criminals and list where the money would come from.

Any savings would be tracked and reported to lawmakers annually and would be required to be invested in expanded addiction treatment programs.

Newshawk: DrDunkleosteus
Source: Associated Press (Wire)
Published: January 18, 2011
Copyright: 2011 The Associated Press

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Comment #5 posted by ekim on January 24, 2011 at 17:47:27 PT
Freedom Watch shows video tonight
Judge Napolitano on his show. 8pm Fox Dir TV Ch 359 segment starts at 8'30-

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Comment #4 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on January 21, 2011 at 01:01:01 PT
Utah murder by police -
Horrible. A text book example of shoot first, ask questions later.

When will America quit excusing this type of reckless, lethal behavior by our cops?

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by ekim on January 20, 2011 at 19:19:04 PT
please Sundance
give comment 2 a glance

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Comment #2 posted by ekim on January 19, 2011 at 19:33:47 PT
Freedom Watch will show video later this week
is what Judge Napolitano said tonight on his show. 8pm Fox Dir TV Ch 359

pete has this story on raid.

More damning details in Utah killing

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by ekim on January 19, 2011 at 07:31:01 PT
wonder if Ky still jails for Hemp

''He could have come here and talked about school violence or domestic violence and tried to bring attention to those problems. Instead, he came here and broke a drug law,'' Jones said.

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