What will the Biden-Harris Administration Mean for Criminal Justice?
With a new administration in office, the questions swirling around the criminal justice system and potential reforms are many. Everything from policing to federal executions are on the table; what can we expect in the coming years with a President Biden in office?
Priorities in the New Administration
- The Death Penalty: The president has said he would like to eliminate the death penalty, and he does have the ability to stop federal executions. But the feds can only pressure the states to follow suit, encouraging them to adopt policies that are more humane and serve justice more effectively on the state level.
- Police Misconduct: President Biden has promised to promote full-bodied investigations into policies and patterns of misconduct in local, state and federal law enforcement agencies to uncover problems and create a model for standards across the country. A primary goal of the administration is to breathe life into federal investigations relating to civil rights issues, something that was definitely not a priority during the recent administration.
- The George Floyd Justice in Policing Act: The administration will push the Senate to pass H.R. 7120 in order to increase transparency, accountability, and the collection of data in policing, as well as to address issues of racism and discrimination in law enforcement policies.
- Cash Bail: Long viewed as racist and unjust, President Biden has vowed to put an end to cash bail, leveling the playing field for all and putting some muscle to the innocent until proven guilty
- Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Putting the power back into the hands of judges who can weigh the specifics of each case, the president has promised to end mandatory minimum sentences, particularly as they relate to drug crimes.
- Private Prisons: One of President Biden’s first executive orders was to put the kibosh on contracts between the Justice Department and private prisons, ending the profit motive in relation to housing human beings, and curtailing the impact that lobbying groups associated with the private prison industry have on Congress.
What Will it Mean in Nevada?
It takes time for federal reforms to trickle down to state and local agencies, but federal guidelines can and do set the tone for what is acceptable. We know it takes commitment and accountability in order for real change to occur. Unfortunately, sometimes the best intentions face hurdles unforeseen.
Case in Point: Bail Reform in Nevada
Despite the best intentions of the Nevada Supreme Court, pretrial cash bail issues still plague us here in Nevada. To be sure, a 2020 ruling intended to restructure the system is on the books. Nonetheless, the indigent continue to wait for their trials behind bars due to jurisdictional maneuvers designed to sidestep the rules.
The Fight for Justice
If you have received the short end of the stick when it comes to justice, we know it is maddening and unfair. At Lobo Law, we fight for justice every day. Contact our Las Vegas criminal defense attorneys today for a confidential consultation about your situation.