> And another thing.... we already put minimum sentences on lots of crimes.
> I sure as hell wouldn't want someone convicted of murder to get a sentence
> that is part suspended and the rest as 'time served'.
The problem with mandatory minimums is that it encourages plea-bargaining
and dishonesty in the system. Guilt or innocence for a crime should be
a matter of determining whether the facts meet the elements of the crime,
and nothing more. The judge then should have the ability to exercise
some judgment about what remedy is appropriate under the circumstances.
A wife who has been habitually abused for years, for example, may
decide to take some "burning bed" action that would technically meet
all the elements of a charge of premeditated murder, but I would not
consider her a threat to society, and would not care to second-guess a
judge who deliberated on the issue and chose to give her time served.
Deciding who did what should be a matter of facts and evidence;
deciding the interests of justice are, and should be, a matter of
human judgment that simply cannot be inflexibly legislated. I am
encouraged a bit by a recent ruling finding that California's "three
strikes" law unconstitutionally usurps the power of the judiciary,
but I'm afraid that ruling doesn't apply to mandatory sentences in
-- Lee Daniel Crocker <email@example.com> <http://www.piclab.com/lcrocker.html> "All inventions or works of authorship original to me, herein and past, are placed irrevocably in the public domain, and may be used or modified for any purpose, without permission, attribution, or notification."--LDC
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