Tag: Heritage Foundation

Rethinking Mandatory Minimum Sentences

By John G. Malcolm and John-Michael Seibler President Obama has publicly opined that mandatory minimum sentences ranging from 20 years to life in prison for drug offenses do not “fit the crime.” He has acted on that belief by commuting dozens of drug offenders’ sentences as Congress debates reform to various aspects of mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Sherman Chester is built like an NFL cornerback. His size belies a calm, respectful demeanor and a soft-spoken wit. On politics, he says he registered to vote as a Republican in 1984 because “Ronald Reagan was in office” and “America was doing it!” And when asked how he felt when he received a mandatory life sentence without parole for selling cocaine and heroin,… View Article
The Heritage Foundation has produced a helpful factsheet that explains civil asset forfeiture. No. 4, especially, stands out: 4. What if I’m innocent? Surely, innocent people can’t have their property taken. Being innocent does not mean that a state has to return your property. The Supreme Court of the United States has held that the “innocent owner” defense is not constitutionally required. Furthermore, even in states where you do have an innocent owner defense, the burden is typically on you. Your property is presumed to be guilty until you prove that you are innocent and that your property therefore should not be forfeited. In other words, you must prove (1) that you were not involved in criminal activity and (2)… View Article
By Lindsey Burke Erika Hartley has two sons with Autism, which means she can explain in one sentence what being able to customize their education means to her family. “If you’ve met one child with Autism,” she says, “You’ve met one child with Autism.” Fortunately, for her sons, Hunter, 11, and Jackson, 7, they live in Arizona, home to the first-in-the-nation education savings accounts. ESAs enable Hunter and Jackson attend Pieceful Solutions, a school that specializes in teaching children with special needs. The Hartleys can use any money left over after tuition for private tutoring, books, educational therapies and to pay for other education-related services and products. Now, some families in Florida will have access to this innovative approach to… View Article
(This article was published Monday, June 25 by the Heritage Foundation.  The author John Malcolm is a former member of the Georgia Public Policy Foundation Board of Governors and currently a Senior Legal Fellow at the Heritage Foundation Center for Legal and Judicial Studies.) By John C. Malcolm Today’s Supreme Court decision upholding the major provision of Arizona’s S.B. 1070 immigration law is a strong rebuke of the Obama Administration. The Administration had argued that its own immigration enforcement priorities should be treated as controlling law—that is, above the determinations of both Congress and Arizona. But the Court’s decision means that the President must go through Congress if he wishes to impede the states’ ability to enforce immigration laws within… View Article

I wanted to publicly say how much I appreciate Georgia Public Policy Foundation.  For those of you that will be entering the Legislature or are relatively new you may not quite yet appreciate how much we rely on Georgia Public Policy Foundation’s research and work.  As you know we’re a citizen’s legislature.  We have very little staff. They have been an invaluable, invaluable resource to us.  To put this [Forum] on and the regular programs that they do throughout the year make us better at what we do. (At the 2012 Georgia Legislative Policy Forum.)

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