Monday, June 30, 2008

Yes to Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Here's the question that was studied in a recent Congressional hearing:

If there is a conspiracy to distribute rohypnol (the "date rape drug"), someone buys and uses it, the girl dies, should everyone in that conspiracy be subject to mandatory (long) minimum sentences. The example being used in the hearing was if someone was a "lookout" at a warehouse that housed the drug and the conspiracy, should the prosecutor have the sole power in the decision to charge/not charge which (if found guilty) would result in a long and many would think disportionate sentence for people who were not as culpable as the main actors. Of course, the Chairman Bobby Scott was on the liberal side, and the Republican presented the Conservative case.

My take?

Democrats should fight for fairness in the rule of law, and its' application. Democrats should demand that all neighborhoods be policed fairly and similarly. Usually that should mean that any area that is not being surveiled for certain crimes should begin to be so, rather than evening of the policing by refusing to prosecute certain areas or types of people. All that being said, Democrats should then stand for being tough on crime and criminals. We should support tougher sentences for knowingly engaging in behavior that can lead to death and serious harm.

While I'm a opponent of the "War on Drugs", that is when the drugs affect the user, and there is a nonviolent setting. This "date rape drug" is known to be used almost exclusively for committing sexual crimes. We should demand severe punishment for anyone connected to this type of crime even in a small way, especially if it leads to death.

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