High Court to rule on early release
The US Supreme Court will
rule in the next few months on whether the federal Bureau of
Prisons can automatically deny early releases to people convicted
of crimes where a firearm was present but not used. Christopher
A. Lopez (Lopez vs. Davis, 99-7504) was convicted in 1997
of possession of methamphetamine with intent to distribute. His
six-year federal prison sentence included an enhancement because
a firearm was present when police arrested him in at home in
Des Moines, Iowa.
A federal judge originally ruled the bureau could not deny early release to a group of nonviolent inmates without individually considering their cases. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed that last August and upheld the bureau's action.
The appeals court said the federal law gives prison officials a broad discretion to determine who is an appropriate candidate for early release.
[an error occurred while processing this directive]