Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Federal Judge Calls For Sentencing Revamping


A federal judge told a congressional committee today that mandatory minimum sentencing has become “a blunt and inflexible tool” that lacks “the ability to meaningfully distinguish between serious offenders and those who are substantially less culpable.”

Julie Carnes, chief judge of the northern district of Georgia, made the comments before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security.

Carnes argues that current mandatory minimum sentencing provisions sweep quite broadly. So thata a penalty that might be appropriate for an egregious offender might be imposed on a less culpable violator. For example, a mandatory minimum statute would impose a 20-year sentence not only on the kingpin who had organized and operated an extensive drug trafficking ring, but also on the manual laborer hired to offload a shipment of that kingpin’s drugs.

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