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New York Assembly has recently passed legislation to restore judge’s discretion in cases that involve mere possession. This would eliminate hearings to have the prosecutor’s consent to allow judges to send persons to drug treatment programs instead of prison. The bill is now before the State Senate which is likely to approve it as well since the Senate is now controlled by Democrats. Prisoners who have been already sentenced may be able to apply for relief as well.This law may have an impact on immigration as well because under immigration law there are no provisions to allow a waiver for any controlled substance other than for fewer than 30 grams of marijuana. This reform could be a turn-around for the stringent immigration code that separates U.S. citizen children and U.S. citizen spouses from their foreign parent or spouse for the possession of a controlled substance even though miniscule for people who are not violent. Judges would have discretion to discriminate between hardened criminals or persons who should be in medical treatment.
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