Category Archives: material support for terrorism

U.S. Terrorism Sentencing Needs to be Overhauled

justitia

by Christopher W. Holton

Embedded in a story in The Philadelphia Tribune touting 15-year sentences for some Jihadis convicted on terrorism charges is the revelation that U.S. terrorism sentencing is ridiculously lightweight.

Consider this quotes from the article:

The majority of terrorism defendants in the United States who have been sentenced for supporting the Islamic State group received the maximum 15 years in prison, according to a summary filed Friday by federal prosecutors in Minnesota.

The report looked at sentencing data of Islamic State-related cases over the last two years and focused on material support convictions, not sentences for convictions such as lying during a terror investigation.

Some of the cases cited in the report are similar to the Minnesota cases: In two separate cases, a Texas man got nearly seven years and a Georgia man got 15 years after they were arrested while trying to leave the U.S. A New Jersey man received 15 years after planning to join the Islamic State group himself and helping his brother successfully make the trip abroad.

Davis has been open-minded when it comes to sentencing terror defendants in Minnesota, and has pioneered a program that’s designed to assess a defendant’s prospects for de-radicalization and risk of re-offense. He has said he plans to use that information in sentencing.

What all this means is that, short of being convicted on conspiracy to commit murder overseas, the MAXIMUM sentence that someone convicted on terrorism-related charges can expect to serve is 15 years. In some cases, a felon convicted on terrorism-related charges will serve just a few years in prison.

Note that the judge mentioned in the article linked below is going to depend on a so-called “deradicalization” program to help him with determining sentencing.

http://www.phillytrib.com/ap/u-s-dishes-out-years-to-terrorism-plotters/article_b3146326-e751-5653-a31e-5a6e9d1d758a.html

15 years in prison is ridiculously light for anyone associated with supporting violent Jihad, especially the Islamic State. The even shorter sentences are obviously much too light. Our experience has shown that there is an even chance that a prisoner will be exposed to MORE Jihadi doctrine in prison, rather than being “rehabilitated.”

The first thing that needs to happen is that sentencing for terrorism charges, especially material support for terrorism, need to be lengthened, perhaps doubled.

But there is another measure that needs to be taken to account for all the Jihadis who are in prison who have already received light sentencing: New York State Senator Thomas D. Croci has introduced a bill that would establish the New York State Terrorist Registry:

https://www.nysenate.gov/legislation/bills/2015/s3464/amendment/original

The registry would work similar to the current sex offender registry. Right now, when a convicted sex offender moves into a jurisdiction he must register with the local sheriff.

The terror registry would work the same way. Those convicted on terror related charges would have to register with local law enforcement in the same manner.

The bill hasn’t passed in New York and may not, but other states need to pick up this idea and make it happen.

State and local law enforcement need to know if a terrorist is living in their midst.

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