Re: news...

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Wed Apr 12 2000 - 14:26:42 MDT

Lee Daniel Crocker wrote:

> > 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
> general.

I understand what you are saying Lee, however considering the number of lenient
judges we've seen in the judiciary (and those entering the judiciary now. If how
many baby boomers treat their kids is any indication, they are gonna be useless
judges) Judges need to know that there are minimum acceptable standards for
crimes. Your burning bed example above would and should involve mitigating
circumstances, and judges should be able to allow for mitigating circumstances.
Too many treat the minimums as an average, though, rather than seeing it as a
reward for mitigating circumstances. If the minimum is 5 years and the max is 10
years, then the bell curve on a judges convictions for that offense had better
peak out at 7.5 years. Seeing a judge impose the minimum on 90% of his cases
indicates incompetence to me

Mike Lorrey

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Thu Jul 27 2000 - 14:09:16 MDT