Congress is considering legislation to increase efficiency and fairness for federal prisoners.
The bipartisan Senate bill called the Criminal Justice Administration Act would:
- Compensate indigent defendants for round-trip travel and lodging if they must attend their own hearings at the federal court level;
- Authorize U.S. magistrate judges to maintain all post-conviction motions in cases that they presided over during sentencing phases for past defendants; and,
- Increase efficiency by allowing federal magistrate judges to rule on post-judgment motions in cases they already presided over.
“For a small annual cost, we can help hundreds of federal defendants who are presumed innocent get fair treatment,” said co-author Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill.
“The bill expedites decisions by eliminating the transfer of cases to District Court judges, who are unfamiliar with a defendant’s case,” said co-author Sen. Susan Collins, R-Mass.
San Quentin incarcerated resident Joshua Grant analyzed Sen. Durban’s press release and stated, “It would be great if the original presiding judge could be accountable for the case in its entirety at the state level too. They were accountable for all aspects of the evidentiary phase, up through the sentencing phase. They would be more apt to consider all mitigating factors of our cases, should something like new evidence or an 1170 (resentencing request) warrant judicial attention.”
Collins said the changes will help ensure justice is carried out fairly and effectively.