« Lots of morning SCOTUS action | Main | Judge Adelman provides thorough (and first?) lower court analysis of Rita »

June 25, 2007

Powerful attack from Judicial Conference against mandatory minimums

As first noted here and as detailed officially here, tomorrow morning the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Judiciary Committee is holding a hearing entitled, "Hearing on Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Laws — The Issues."  I have been expecting that most of the speakers would be offering testimony critical of mandatory minimum sentencing statutes.  I have just received a copy of the written statement of US District Judge Paul Cassell on behalf of the Judicial Conference of the United States, and it is even more critical than I expected. 

Judge Cassell written statement on behalf of the Judicial Conference is available for download below.  Here is how it begins:

I am pleased to be here today on behalf of the Judicial Conference of the United States and its Criminal Law Committee to discuss the damage mandatory minimum sentence do to logic and rationality in our nation's federal courts.

Mandatory minimum sentences mean one-size-fits-all injustice.  Each offender who comes before a federal judge for sentencing deserves to have [his or her] individual facts and circumstances considered in determining a just sentence.  Yet mandatory minimum sentences require judges to put blinders on to the unique facts and circumstances of particular cases, producing what the late Chief Justice Rehnquist has aptly identified as "unintended consequences."

Download statement_of_honorable_paul_cassell.pdf

UPDATE:  I now see that the full list of witnesses for the hearing is available at the official House website.  Here is the full list of scheduled witnesses:

June 25, 2007 at 03:03 PM | Permalink

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d83451574769e200e0098710e38833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Powerful attack from Judicial Conference against mandatory minimums:

Comments

Mando minimums are essential in federal law enforcement. Federal judges simply cannot be trusted to impose harsh sentences on the kinds of defendants subject to minimum sentences, such as violent gang members, drug dealers, and so on, and federal prosecutors need leverage to work up the ladder. Guidelines are helpful to all practitioners b/c it at least makes an effort at consistency in sentencing. Where I practice, several judges have use Booker to hand out weak sentences (probation, split sentences, substantial downward variances), and others have used Booker as an opportunity to hammer defendants -- to literally max some defendants out. In other words, the single most important factor in predicting what kind of sentence a defendant will get, is the judge that the defendant drew on the mysterious judicial wheel.

Posted by: rls | Jun 25, 2007 11:26:36 PM

Well, then submit the Guidelines' facts to the jury and you can have all the mandatory-ness you want.

Posted by: | Jun 26, 2007 7:36:58 AM

HEY, CHECK THIS OUT. MY HUSBAND HAS JUST BEEN CONVICTED ON A ACC. I POSTED A ARTICLE ABOUT HIM HAVING A BROKEN FIREARM. AND YES I MEAN BROKEN.AND JUST B CAUSE HE HAD PRIOR FELONIES, THE FEDS SMOKED HIM ON A ACC CHARGE.HE NOW WAITS FOR AN APPEAL(SOME WHERE AWAY IN KENTUCKY.WELL TRUTHFULLY THEY MUST HAVE THOUGHT HE WAS A KILLER OR SOMETHING , BECAUSE THE STATE HELD HIM AND WAITED FOR THE FEDS TO COME GET HIM.(GOOD CAUGHT. NOT TO MENTION THE BOSTON POLICE ILLIGALLY STOPPED AND SEARCHED HIM.OF COURSE THEY HAVE THIS THING ABOUT BLK MALE WALKING. WELL I HOPE THIS LAW CHANGES. THE REALLITY IS THEY ARE LIVING AT JEPORDEY.EVEN WHEN THEY HAVE SERVED TIME FOR THEIR PAST CONVICTIONS.15 YRS(HUH) AND WHAT WOULD YOU GIVE A KILLER(25 AND FREE..... IN SOME CASES (NO TIME) EXSPECIALLY WHEN YOU HAVE MONEY(OR INFORMATION....THE JUDICIAL SYSTEM IS A TRICK. AND OF COURSE OUR(POOR) BLACK FAMILIES CANT AFFORD IT. SOOO LESS KEEP ALL THE POOR PEOPLE POOR. AND KEEP MAKING MONEY FROM THE CRIMINALS. THROUGH THEM IN JAIL, AND HAVE THEM COME OUT WITH NO WINNING CHANCE.KEEP THE PEOPLE WHOM EDUCATE THEM (IN JAIL) WITH A JOB.OF COURSE THEY MAY BE EDUCATED (BUT) NO PLACE TO GO WITH IT!!! PLEASE UNDERSTAND(AND KEEP NET WORKING FOR INFORMATION)MADOTORY SENT.... ITS CRAZY!!!!!!!!

Posted by: anonymous | Mar 10, 2008 2:30:25 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB