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The Final Dakar Sep 20, 2013 02:57 PM
Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
A bipartisan topic? (Congressionally speaking)

DOJ To Nix Mandatory Minimum Sentences In Some Pending Drug Cases: Eric Holder
Quote
Federal prosecutors will soon begin applying a policy that helps certain drug offenders avoid mandatory minimum sentences to defendants who haven't yet been sentenced, Attorney General Eric Holder will announce Thursday.
Getting behind Rand Paul on this one
Rand Paul: 'I Am Here To Ask That We Begin The End Of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing' - Forbes
Quote
"If I told you that one out of three African-American males is [prohibited] by law from voting, you might think I was talking about Jim Crow, 50 years ago. Yet today a third of African-American males are still prevented from voting because of the war on drugs. The war on drugs has disproportionately affected young black males. The ACLU reports that blacks are four to five times more likely to be convicted for drug possession, although surveys indicate that blacks and whites use drugs at about the same rate. The majority of illegal drug users and dealers nationwide are white, but three-fourths of the people in prison for drug offenses are African American or Latino."
Quote
Paul mentioned other examples of draconian mandatory minimums, including the 55-year sentence that Weldon Angelos, a 24-year-old Utah music entrepreneur, received for a few small pot sales. Another witness, Brett Tolman, a former U.S. attorney for Utah, noted that the DEA could have busted Angelos after the first undercover buy but waited for two more, knowing that Angelos’ possession of a gun would trigger stacked sentences adding up to more than half a century.
Quote
So while it is true that Paul’s bill would not repeal mandatory minimums, it would effectively make them nonmandatory. The conclusion of Paul’s testimony left no doubt as to his ultimate goal:

"Each case, I think, should be judged on its own merits. Mandatory minimums prevent this from happening. Mandatory minimum sentencing, I think, has done little to address the real problem of drug abuse while also doing a great deal of damage by destroyi"ng so many lives. I am here to ask today for you to let judges to start doing their job. I am here to ask that we begin today the end of mandatory minimum sentencing.

In addition to the injustice of mandatory minimums, Paul mentioned their impact on the size of our prison system:

Since mandatory sentencing began, America’s prison population has exploded, quadrupled. America now jails a higher percentage of citizens than any other country in the world, at the staggering cost of $80 billion a year.

To be honest, I know ****-all about this stuff, but anything that lessens the toll that the drug war has taken on citizens and prison system is worth considering to me.
 
subego Sep 20, 2013 03:59 PM
Here, I'll take the other side.

Sentencing by algorithm is and has always been an awesome idea. We should start replacing judges with robots.
 
lpkmckenna Sep 20, 2013 04:35 PM
Mandatory minimums are nonsense no matter what the defendant is charged with. We shouldn't be substituting the judge's estimation of appropriate sentencing with the politician's estimation of what ridiculous promises he can make to the voters. And over-incarceration leads to worse recidivism outcomes and balloons the cost of justice.
 
The Final Dakar Sep 20, 2013 04:42 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by subego (Post 4248870)
Here, I'll take the other side.

Sentencing by algorithm is and has always been an awesome idea. We should start replacing judges with robots.
Well it'd help make justice blind. I'm not sure we'd like truly blind justice, though.
 
Shaddim Sep 20, 2013 05:18 PM
Decriminalize pot. Boom! 1/4 of the people in jail walk out and 1/3 of all arrests cease. There's your money for expanded Medicare.
 
shifuimam Sep 20, 2013 09:47 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by The Final Dakar (Post 4248855)
A bipartisan topic? (Congressionally speaking)
If only Congress weren't bipartisan.........

Just sayin'.
 
The Final Shortcut Sep 25, 2013 09:49 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by lpkmckenna (Post 4248882)
Mandatory minimums are nonsense no matter what the defendant is charged with. We shouldn't be substituting the judge's estimation of appropriate sentencing with the politician's estimation of what ridiculous promises he can make to the voters. And over-incarceration leads to worse recidivism outcomes and balloons the cost of justice.
Yep. One area in which I completely disagree with the direction taken by our current Conservative government.

On the other hand, my understanding is that with elected judges in the States, you run into a lot more problems (or perceived problems) with slightly inconsistent sentencing for similar offences - which does make some sense considering you could be before a judge who publicly campaigned to be Tough On Drug Crime or a judge who campaigned to be Progressive on Drug Crime. I'm not sure if it would be an actually measureable effect as compared to, say, the individual approaches of elected judges here in Canada, but it's very likely a consideration when according judges more flexible sentencing powers.
 
Snow-i Sep 26, 2013 10:34 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Shaddim (Post 4248906)
Decriminalize pot. Boom! 1/4 of the people in jail walk out and 1/3 of all arrests cease. There's your money for expanded Medicare.
Amen! So many lives destroyed so needlessly. You would also have the benefit of taking some of the wind out of the black market.

I've never understood why I can't grow a plant on my own property for my own consumption without Uncle Sam having something to say about it. Shut up and sit down, Uncle Sam. That's not why you were founded and fought for.
 
The Final Dakar Sep 27, 2013 09:58 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by shifuimam (Post 4248984)
If only Congress weren't bipartisan.........

Just sayin'.
Please, elaborate.
 
BLAZE_MkIV Sep 27, 2013 10:22 AM
Quote, Originally Posted by Snow-i (Post 4249868)
I've never understood why I can't grow a plant on my own property for my own consumption without Uncle Sam having something to say about it. Shut up and sit down, Uncle Sam. That's not why you were founded and fought for.
Are you going to:
Never give/sell any
Never go out in public while using it
Indemnify you insurance / welfare / medicare / etc for any repercussions?

Can you say the same for everyone?
 
Shaddim Sep 27, 2013 02:24 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by BLAZE_MkIV (Post 4250063)
Are you going to:
Never give/sell any
Never go out in public while using it
Indemnify you insurance / welfare / medicare / etc for any repercussions?

Can you say the same for everyone?
Same for tobacco, alcohol, fast food?
 
BLAZE_MkIV Sep 27, 2013 04:57 PM
Quote, Originally Posted by Shaddim (Post 4250103)
Same for tobacco, alcohol, fast food?
Yes, Yes, No

The difference is the first to require majority status for consent.
 
Shaddim Sep 27, 2013 06:07 PM
Well, considering that poor eating habits contribute more to US health problems than any of the others, it should be the first to be scrutinized.
 
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