Mandatory Minimum Sentences

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Mandatory minimum sentences, a valuable weapon in the war on drugs or a handcuff on judicial discretion? Mandatory minimum sentences are sentences that are imposed on drug offenders who are supposed to be considered “king pins” in the drug world. Often defendants who are imposed these harsh sentences have little or no involvement in the sell or preparation of the drugs; and at times are just guilty by association. The law to crack down on drug offenders seems to be harsher than on individuals who have been convicted of murder, rape, and many other crimes; and individuals who have no real knowledge face harsher sentences than the individuals directly involved. In cases handled by the federal government if you have no information to provide to authorities, you are given harsher sentences, because you didn’t cooperate with the government. How is it possible to provide information when you have none to give? There are a lot of girlfriends, wives, mothers, grandmothers, and sisters who are implicated in indictments due to a family member, spouse, or boyfriend being involved with the selling or preparation of drugs; when in reality they reaped no benefits from the drug activity. This problem has been around since the federal government mandated mandatory minimums over fifteen years ago. The Mandatory Minimum sentencing laws were put into place for major and habitual drug offenders to be behind bars for years, but in essence we have been faced with unintended consequences of mandatory minimum sentences. The mandatory minimum guidelines are so outrageous, and although one should be held accountable for any illegal activity the guidelines leave no discretion for judge. Drug cases before the mandatory minimum drug law took effect; the sentencing for such crimes was nowhere near as harsh. Defendants that have been sentenced under these guidelines often have no criminal history

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