Newsbrief: Mandatory Minimum Sentences Unfair, Says Supreme Court Justice 9/26/03

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Even as Attorney General John Ashcroft moved once again to quash any tendencies toward leniency in federal sentencing, Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer Sunday became the second justice in recent weeks to attack overly rigid federal criminal sentences. In a speech at the John F Kennedy Library and Museum in Boston, Breyer called mandatory minimum sentences "unfair" and "not helpful." He joins Justice Anthony Kennedy in attacking mandatory minimums; Kennedy told the American Bar Association annual convention last month that such sentences were "unjust."

Calling mandatory minimum sentences a "monkey wrench" thrown into the gears of justice, Breyer called for greater flexibility for judges. "There has to be oil in the gears... There has to be room for the unusual or the exceptional case," he said. Breyer blamed Congress, which he said passed too many mandatory minimum laws where "there is no room for flexibility on the downside. "That is not a helpful thing to do," he said. "It's not going to advance the cause of law enforcement in my opinion and it's going to set back the cause of fairness in sentencing."

Breyer told the audience of more than 500 people than he and Kennedy were not alone among justices unhappy with mandatory minimums. Chief Justice William Rehnquist and "others on the court" shared his views, he said. Nor is unhappiness with harsh sentences limited to Supreme Court justices. A series of moves by Attorney General Ashcroft to crack down on light sentences is threatening to turn a festering judicial resentment over loss of sentencing discretion into a full-fledged rebellion of the black-robes.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail drcnet@drcnet.org. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #304, 9/26/03 Editorial: Patients vs. Prosecutors | Pain Doctor Arrests Provoke Backlash -- Group Urges FDA to Stop Cooperating With Justice Department | Cheryl Miller Memorial Project Does DC | Hawaii Meth Mania: Drug Summit, Media Push Target "Ice" | Playing It Smart: Sensible Seattle and the Winning of I-75 | Newsbrief: Dr. Hurwitz Indicted, Jailed in Campaign Against Pain Doctors | Newsbrief: MAPS-Sponsored Ecstasy Research Wins Final FDA Approval | Newsbrief: Rio de Janeiro Jails Stuffed With Drug Offenders | Newsbrief: UN Warns Stimulants "Public Enemy Number One," Cites Flawed Science, Attacks "Liberalization" | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Cannabis Tolerance Showing Up in India | Newsbrief: Canadian Government to Appeal BC Marijuana Legalization Ruling | Newsbrief: Drug War Sparking Death Squad Killings Again in Philippines | Newsbrief: Ashcroft Says No Plea Bargains in Latest Bid to Send America to Prison Forever | Newsbrief: Mandatory Minimum Sentences Unfair, Says Supreme Court Justice | This Week in History | Current Action Alerts: Medical Marijuana, Plan Colombia, HEA, Ashcroft's Attack on Judicial Discretion | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | Errata: Last Week's Corrupt Cops Story | The Reformer's Calendar
Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 drcnet@drcnet.org