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Iowa Legislature Approves Drug Sentencing Reform

Many people around the country, including some Iowa legislators, are coming around to the view that the "War on Drugs" that began in the 1980s was seriously misguided. It resulted in an exploding prison population, including many people convicted of nonviolent drug offenses. And it has been partially responsible for a disproportionate incarceration of minorities. In Iowa, African-Americans make up only 3.4 percent of the population, but comprise 25.5 percent of those in state prisons and 35.8 percent of federal prisoners within the state.

The Iowa Legislature recently passed a criminal justice reform law that includes a provision reducing the harshness of sentences for those convicted of some drug offenses. Under the legislation, individuals convicted of some nonviolent drug crimes would become eligible for parole once they had served half of the required minimum sentence for the crime.

The measure is part of a criminal justice reform package that also reduces the charge for nonviolent attempted robbery from a felony to an aggravated misdemeanor and creates a mandatory minimum sentence for child endangerment that results in a minor's death. At the time this post was written the legislation was on its way to Governor Branstad for signature. Whether he signs it is yet to be seen, but in the past he has supported efforts to reduce the state's prison population.

Even if the War on Drugs may be over, that doesn't mean drug charges should be taken lightly by anyone facing them in Iowa. The federal and state penalties for drug trafficking and manufacturing are still severe. A person charged with a drug-related offense has the right to an attorney of their choice and the right to fight the charges in court. With the right defense strategy, it may be possible to get the charges reduced or dismissed.

Source: The Courier, "Iowa lawmakers approve 'significant' criminal justice reform," Erin Murphy, May 4, 2016

Categories
  • The Iowa State Bar Association
  • DUI Defense Law
  • NACDL
  • AAJ
  • Iowa Association of Justice

Keegan, Tindal, & Mason 

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  • J. Dean Keegan
  • Eric D. Tindal
  • Andrea D. Mason
  • J. Dean Keegan J. Dean Keegan

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    Decades of Award-Winning Legal Service J. Dean Keegan was born and raised in Waterloo, Iowa. After high school, Dean served ...
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  • Eric D. Tindal Eric D. Tindal

    Attorney

    Highly Rated Criminal Defense in Iowa City Eric D. Tindal, attorney at Keegan, Tindal & Mason, graduated from the University ...
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  • Andrea D. Mason Andrea D. Mason

    Attorney

    Experienced Criminal Defense in the Iowa and Illinois Quad Cities Andrea D. Mason practices in the areas of white collar ...
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SUCCESSFUL results for our clients

Protecting Your Freedom & Rights
  • Operating While Intoxicated Charges Dismissed

    Linn County OWCR133760. Attorney Eric Tindal's client was arrested for Operating While Intoxicated. Mr. Tindal had all charges dismissed following a successful suppression hearing regarding the grounds for the stop.

  • Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana and Methamphetamine Charges Dismissed

    Washington Count FECR5351. Attorney Tindal and Attorney Clemens Erdahl successfully argued that evidence of drug manufacture was obtained in violation of the Constitution. All charges were dismissed.

  • Possession with Intent to Distribute Charges Dismissed

    Iowa County FECR010358. Attorney Tindal was able to show the Court that his client was detained in violation of his Constitutional rights and that the K9 utilized in the search was unreliable. Following hearing all charges were dismissed.

  • Vehicular Homicide Charges Reduced

    Johnson County FECR68296. The Defendant was charged with Vehicular Homicide. Following a suppression hearing, Mr. Tindal and his co-counsel were able to show that the blood test result was taken in violation of implied consent procedures. The case was subsequently resolved for a misdemeanor.

  • Second Degree Sexual Abuse and Other Charges Acquittal at Trial

    Johnson County FECR089277. The Defendant was charged with Second Degree Sexual Abuse and other charges. Following a one-week trial by Mr. Tindal, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft Charge Dismissed

    Scott County FECR384046. The Defendant was charged with Trafficking Stolen Weapons and Misdemeanor Theft. The Court dismissed the felony following a Motion litigated by Mr. Tindal. The Defendant subsequently pled to the remaining misdemeanor.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Johnson County OWCR116811. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated. Mr. Tindal was able to win the Iowa Dept of Transportation appeal and have the blood test result thrown out. The case was resolved for a public intoxication charge and no loss of license.

  • Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense Reduced to Public Intoxication

    Washington County OWIN010946. The Defendant was charged with Operating While Intoxicated Second Offense. Following long negotiations with the State the Defendant was able to plead to a Public Intoxication and have his driving privileges reinstated.

  • First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death Acquitted of First Degree Murder at Trial

    Henry County FECR005634. Attorney Tindal’s client was charged with First Degree Murder and Child Endangerment Causing Death. Following a two week trial, the Defendant was acquitted of all charges.

  • Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree Conviction Reversed on Appeal

    Iowa Supreme Court No. 04-361. The Defendant was convicted of Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree. On appeal, Mr. Tindal successfully argued that the conviction was based on improperly admitted evidence. The conviction was reversed.

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