Read the Beforeitsnews.com story here. Advertise at Before It's News here.
Profile image
By Reason Magazine (Reporter)
Contributor profile | More stories
Story Views
Now:
Last hour:
Last 24 hours:
Total:

Tennessee May Finally Reform Draconian Drug-Free School Zone Laws

% of readers think this story is Fact. Add your two cents.


Tennessee lawmakers are finally revisiting the state’s punitive drug-free school zone laws, which blanket whole swaths of towns, turning minor drug crimes into mandatory minimum offenses with sentences that rival those for rape and murder.

The Tennessee House is advancing a bill, sponsored by Republican state Rep. Michael Curcio, that would reduce the zones from 1,000 feet from any school, park, library, or day care center to 500 feet. Importantly, it would also remove the mandatory minimum sentences, giving judges more discretion.

“The unintended consequence of such a large zone is that the law affects more individuals than the General Assembly meant to target,” Curcio said at a March hearing.

In defense of the changes, Curcio cited data from a Reason investigation published two years ago showing that more than a quarter of land area within city limits in the state is covered by drug-free zones. Such zones cover 38 percent of Memphis, for example, and 58 percent of East Knoxville.

All 50 states created drug-free zones in the ’80s and ’90s, but civil liberties groups—and even some current and former prosecutors—say the laws are rarely, if ever, used in actual cases involving drug dealing to minors. Tennessee’s laws apply even when school is out and even when the defendant is in a private residence or merely driving through a zone.

Take the case of Calvin Bryant, who was sentenced at age 20 to 17 years in prison—15 of them mandatory—for selling ecstasy to a confidential informant in his Nashville apartment, which happened to be within 1,000 feet of a school. He could theoretically have served less time if he’d been convicted of second-degree murder, which carries a minimum 15-year sentence but includes a possibility for parole after 13 years.

After serving 10 and a half years, Bryant was released in 2018 through a deal struck with prosecutors. He now mentors inner-city youth. “I hold myself accountable for participating in a drug transaction, but do I feel like I should have gotten 17 years?” he testified at a committee hearing on the bill. “I don’t.”

There are 358 Tennessee inmates serving sentences for drug-free school zone offenses, according to data obtained by the Justice Action Network, an advocacy group. That number doesn’t include cases where prosecutors dropped school zone charges as part of a plea deal.

Bryant told lawmakers he hopes future bills will give relief to those still incarcerated. “It’s kind of rough when you’re sitting in prison and your injustice is being used for other people’s justice that haven’t really committed crimes yet.”



Source: https://reason.com/2020/05/14/tennessee-may-finally-reform-draconian-drug-free-school-zone-laws/


Before It’s News® is a community of individuals who report on what’s going on around them, from all around the world.

Anyone can join.
Anyone can contribute.
Anyone can become informed about their world.

"United We Stand" Click Here To Create Your Personal Citizen Journalist Account Today, Be Sure To Invite Your Friends.

Please Help Support BeforeitsNews by trying our Natural Health Products below!


Order by Phone at 888-809-8385 or online at https://mitocopper.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomic.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST

Order by Phone at 866-388-7003 or online at https://www.herbanomics.com M - F 9am to 5pm EST


Humic & Fulvic Trace Minerals Complex - Nature's most important supplement! Vivid Dreams again!

HNEX HydroNano EXtracellular Water - Improve immune system health and reduce inflammation

Ultimate Clinical Potency Curcumin - Natural pain relief, reduce inflammation and so much more.

MitoCopper - Bioavailable Copper destroys pathogens and gives you more energy. (See Blood Video)
Oxy Powder - Natural Colon Cleanser!  Cleans out toxic buildup with oxygen! 
Nascent Iodine - Promotes detoxification, mental focus and thyroid health.
Smart Meter Cover -  Reduces Smart Meter radiation by 96%!  (See Video)

Report abuse

    Comments

    Your Comments
    Question   Razz  Sad   Evil  Exclaim  Smile  Redface  Biggrin  Surprised  Eek   Confused   Cool  LOL   Mad   Twisted  Rolleyes   Wink  Idea  Arrow  Neutral  Cry   Mr. Green

    MOST RECENT
    Load more ...

    SignUp

    Login

    Newsletter

    Email this story
    Email this story

    If you really want to ban this commenter, please write down the reason:

    If you really want to disable all recommended stories, click on OK button. After that, you will be redirect to your options page.