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Judges speaking out against mandatory minimum sentencing

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Mandatory minimum sentencing: Almost as unjust as capital punishment.

For many years, many judges — exercising the independence that rightfully is theirs — have spoken out against mandatory minimum sentencing, which takes place both at the federal and state levels. I have written against mandatory minimum sentencing here and here.

Now that Democrats are in the Congressional majority, will they have the desire and courage to reverse the mandatory minimum sentencing tide, starting with eliminating the 100:1 sentencing disparity between powder cocaine weight and crack cocaine weight? This January 8 New York Times article addresses judges’ views on mandatory minimum sentencing and the areas of mandatory minimum sentencing that Congress may address.

However, will enough Congress members support such changes, and will president Bush veto such changes? Then, again, Bush will be out of office two years from now.

Jon Katz.