Jacob Sullum in Forbes: Mandatory Minimums Give Prosecutors the Power to Coerce Guilty Pleas

In 2005 Sandra Avery was arrested for possessing 50 grams of crack cocaine with intent to deliver. That amount, less than two ounces, was enough to trigger a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. Because federal prosecutors did not offer to reduce the sentence, Avery went to trial. She was convicted and received a mandatory life sentence after prosecutors called the court's attention to two prior convictions for possessing small amounts of crack. Writing in Forbes, Senioir Editor Jacob Sullum explains how that kind of disparity magnifies the injustice caused by mandatory minimum sentencing rules, punishing people more severely for exercising their right to a trial than for violating the drug laws.

Read this article.

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  • The Last American Hero||

    At first when I saw the alt-text I thought they outlawed Parmiggiano-Reggiano. Now I'm worried that some dipshit will search my house and mistake my parm-reg for drugs.

  • UnCivilServant||

    I'm still trying to find the alt-text of which you speak.

  • PapayaSF||

    The history is important. Mandatory minimums were a '70s reform, because there had been a lot of bad publicity about different convictions resulting in wildly different sentences. So the concept was adopted, and then over-applied to drug crimes.

  • np||

    This must be the Friday nut punch.

    Because federal prosecutors did not offer to reduce the sentence, Avery went to trial. She was convicted and received a mandatory life sentence after prosecutors called the court's attention to two prior convictions for possessing small amounts of crack.

    Fuck those motherfucking jurors and their blind acquiescence to laws and authority.

  • James_R||

    Educating jury members on their rights regarding nullification would go a long ways towards fixing this problem. Just having one juror vote not guilty in 10% of these victimless drug cases would cause an upheaval in our justice system.

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