Sentencing

Cops Say Any Change in Mandatory Minimums, Including Retroactive Application of Previous Reductions, Threatens Public Safety

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FLEOA

In a recent letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, the  Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA) opposes any attempt to "alter or eliminate the current federal sentencing policy regarding mandatory minimum sentencing." According to Frank Terreri, FLEOA's vice president for legislative affairs, the current rules are "essential to public safety and that of our membership," and " any change in the mandatory minimum sentencing standard does a disservice to the brave men and women who are asked to put their lives on the line to protect us from terrorists and criminals." The closest Terreri comes to an explanation of that position is his claim that "the system in place… allows progression up the scale of criminal organizations from low-level subject to higher ranking members through the effect of the mandatory minimum sentencing act."

In other words, the threat of draconian sentences pressures low-level offenders to provide information about people higher up in their organizations, thereby qualifying for downward departures from the prescribed penalties or avoiding charges that carry mandatory minimums. Terreri does not claim that mandatory minimums are just—only that they are useful. Yet the fact that prosecutors will certify a sentence as appropriate in the context of a plea bargain raises serious questions about whether a much longer sentence for the very same offense can be appropriate simply because the defendant decides he wants a trial. And what about a defendant who has no useful information to offer, perhaps because his involvement with the targeted organization is minimal? How can it possibly be just to punish such people more severely than others who are more involved and therefore can offer the sort of cooperation that will earn them a shorter sentence?

Barbara Scrivner, for example, was arrested for helping distribute methamphetamine in 1992. Prosecutors offered her a 10-year sentence in exchange for her cooperation. But according to Families Against Mandatory Minimums, "she knew nothing about the conspiracy beyond her husband's participation," so she opted for a trial. She was sentenced to 30 years in prison, while other defendants who played more important roles in the meth operation received sentences of 10 years or less. This is the system Terreri is defending. 

It gets worse. FLEOA's objection to any changes in sentencing rules, based on the dubious premise that current law is perfect in every respect, means the group opposes the Smarter Sentencing Act, which the Senate Judiciary Committee approved by a 13-to-5 vote in January. Among other things, that bill would make retroactive the reduced crack cocaine penalties that a nearly unanimous Congress approved in 2010. That provision could help thousands of crack offenders who are serving sentences that almost everyone now agrees are too long. Yet Terreri says that step, which basic fairness demands, somehow would reduce the ability of law enforcement officers to "protect us from terrorists and criminals." Even if you accept the equation of nonviolent drug offenders with predatory criminals, that position makes no sense, since retroactive application of sentence reductions that have already been enacted cannot possibly reduce the leverage that the feds have with people they are busting today.

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  1. It takes a certain kind of asshole to be a cop. It takes an entirely new level of asshole to be the head of a union of cops.

    1. They’re the biggest crime organization in America. They’re the police.

  2. brave men and women who are asked to put their lives on the line to protect us from terrorists and criminals.”

    Could someone please provide some statistics as to how many terrorists local police have captured… ever?

    1. I think they count anarchist crust punks as terrorists.

    2. Didn’t you know disrespecting cops is terrorism?

      That means there are millions of them

      1. Thats not the only thing wrong there. Cops are not brave, they are sadistic bullies who spend their entire careers destroying the lives of drug addicts, minorities, poor people and immigrants. Cops are not “asked” to do anything. They actively apply to become police, which probably has something to do with the extravagant pay and benefits they receive.

  3. The current rules give them power, and changing the rules will take away some of their power. Thus they oppose any change to the rules that will take away some of the power they have over those they serve. And they will lie and lie and lie to get their way.

    1. over those they serve? That sounds a little too social contracty…

      1. “power over those they serve” as in “they serve everyone except any particular individual they interact with” as in “we serve them”

        I was trying to be sarcasmic.

        1. oh you!

      2. “Ooh, you got served!”

        Only instead of out-dancing people, they beat them with clubs.

  4. But, how many members of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association are black?

  5. Why the hell do pigs care about mandatory minimums? Prosecutors obviously do, because they can use them as a cudgel, but why would the cops care? Because when interrogating someone they can threaten them with mandatory minimums? Can’t they just lie like they already do anyway?

    1. Includes prison guards?

      1. If it does, that explains it all, except I’m pretty sure the cop union wouldn’t let the prison guards near their fucking union with a 10 foot pole.

        1. In NY at least, the Prison Guards and the Cops have separate unions. The Cops get the better deals, the guards get the same shit as those in the Bizarro unions like PEF.

  6. Terreri represents the professionalized demeanor of the Al Qaeda personality.

    A hardcore and brutal thug without a semblance of conscience who condones extreme and violent prejudice against even low-level criminals while he’s all dressed up pretty in a suit and tie while actively running an organization that doesn’t give a single shit about ethics and human rights.

  7. They should change their name to …

    Federal Enforcement of Law And Tactical Operations Resource Association

    1. I tried to come up with the words behind a “BECAUSE FYTW” acronym for the group, but I couldn’t.

    2. Criminal
      Law
      Intelligence
      Tactical
      Operations
      Regarding
      Illegal
      Situations

      1. Criminologists
        Undertaking
        Nacro-terrorist
        Threat-assessment

  8. the threat of draconian sentences pressures low-level offenders to provide information about people higher up in their organizations,

    Which REALLY means that police are too fucking lazy to actually investigate.

    Note that this is true of ALL crimes, not just drug-related activity. For example, police laziness in investigating a triple-homicide in the Boston area resulted in the marathon bombing months later. They COULD have investigated further, but the attitude was “someone will eventually get busted for something else and use knowledge of the triple homicide as a bargaining chip – THEN we’ll find the perp easily.”

    1. Police investigate crimes based upon who, not what.

      If say it’s a child murder that makes the press, then they have to investigate.

      If a friend, relative, or otherwise connected person is burglarized, they’ll go all CSI and shit.

      If it’s a little person, then yeah. They don’t do a damn thing.

      For example many years back my apartment was broken into. So I called the cops. They came, asked me for ID, ran me for warrants, and when they found they didn’t have an excuse to arrest me they left.

  9. I see Geico has no problem supporting these thugs and their love of mandatory minimum sentencing.

  10. I see Geico has no problem supporting these thugs and their love of mandatory minimum sentencing.

  11. I see Geico has no problem supporting these thugs and their love of mandatory minimum sentencing.

  12. I see Geico has no problem supporting these thugs and their love of mandatory minimum sentencing.

    1. Wow! The quadruple tap. I thought was only legend, like mega chicken.

      1. I wish I was that talented on the mouse. That would be fly for gaming. Clearly something is wrong with the commenting system here.

      2. Technically, that is “Ultra Mega Chicken”. And it turns out he wasn’t a legend.

  13. The first squirrels had rubber fur, very easy to spot. But the new squirrels had real fur, bright, beady eyes and that cute twitch when they crack open a nut. Very tough to spot.

  14. “… the current rules are “essential to public safety and that of our membership,…”

    And that of our membership, hmmmmm… Sounds like jobs could be on the line.

  15. Richard Wershe Jr is serving a LIFE sentence for one *non-violent* drug charge he received as a minor (17 years old) back in May of 1987. Three years prior Rick was recruited by Federal agents and Detroit police as a teenage undercover informant in Detroit’s dangerous drug underworld. Rick’s release is long overdue!!

    http://www.thefix.com/content/…..1?page=all

    https://www.facebook.com/freewhiteboyrickwershe

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