Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Essay
Mandatory minimum sentences do not by any means override sentencing; they have only shifted that decision from judges to prosecutors. Depending on the offense judges may have to impose whatever punishment the law requires, but prosecutors on the other hand do not have any of the same obligations as a judge. Prosecutors have power over what charges to bring. Even if a prosecutor brings charges against a defendant, the prosecutor is the one who gets to decide whether to ask the district …show more content…
The result is that sentencing reductions go to serious offenders rather than to small-scale subordinates. The practice of lessening sentences to defendants who assist the government is commonplace in American law, but the quantity-driven drug mandatory um and one that does not will often produce what is known as a “cliff effect.” While someone with 0.9 gram of LSD might not spend much time incarcerated, another fraction of a gram will result in five years behind bars.
In fact, it is easy to find examples of unduly harsh mandatory minimums for drug offenses. A financially desperate single mother of four with no criminal history was paid $100 by a complete stranger to mail a package that, unbeknownst to her, contained 232 grams of crack cocaine. For this act alone, she received a sentence of 10 years in prison even though the sentencing judge felt that this punishment was completely unjust and