Human Rights Watch on Coerced Guilty Pleas in US Drug Cases

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A report from Human Rights Watch released this morning demonstrates the corruption of justice that mandatory minimum sentencing has brought about. According to "An Offer You Can't Refuse: How US Federal Prosecutors Force Defendants to Plead Guilty," prosecutors commonly force drug defendants to plead to lengthy mandatory sentences in order to avoid losing their entire lives. Jamie Fellner of HRW writes:

"Prosecutors give drug defendants a so-called choice -- in the most egregious cases, the choice can be to plead guilty to 10 years, or risk life without parole by going to trial," said Jamie Fellner, senior advisor to the US Program at Human Rights Watch and author of the report. "Prosecutors make offers few drug defendants can refuse. This is coercion pure and simple."
 

In one case cited, Sandra Avery, a small-time drug dealer, declined to plea to 10 years for possession of 50 grams of crack with intent to deliver. Prior convictions she had for simple drug possession triggered a sentencing enhancement, at the prosecutor's behest, and Avery was sentenced to life without parole.

I think that very clearly constitutes a human rights violation, and we need to take this kind of power away from the officials who perpetrate such violations. One way to do that is by repealing mandatory minimum sentencing. There is a real chance of doing that, for the first time in a very long time, as a recent article we published shows. More on this coming soon.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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The drug cases should be

The drug cases should be taken into account seriously. In may cases it is seen that the addicted ones go back to take drugs again.

Crimes Against Humanity.

"Crime Against Humanity"

Tacked on wordage in cases

"With intent to deliver" is total bs. How the hell do they know if a victim is going to deliver drugs? Just another way to enhance charges with no evidence.

The very least of it

This is the very least of US anti drug policy.How many kids have taken their own lives because they were literally scared to death by a drug agent trying either to get a guilty plea,cooperation or to turn a felon?US drug sentencing is outrageous and the fact that the drug agents always tell you that you will get the maximum has been the cause of many a suicide.People will turn in their friends,their relatives,even their mothers to avoid the harsh sentences available to US law enforcement.RICCO laws are so severe that they have been the cause of even mafia bosses ratting out their entire organizations.The cops will tell you that's a good thing and a big boon to law enforcement.The simple fact is that it is the cause of many a multiple murderer going free because he turned on drug mules and dealers.The whole court system is a bigger crime than the drug dealing it purports to be stopping.Nothing ever gets any better.The drugs are more available,purer and cheaper every year this drug war continues.The simple fact that the Afghan opium trade is up 40x since NATO got there is as good an ad for drugs as any there is.What war on drugs?It's all about who you know and who you don't.

Thank goodness for this

Thank goodness for this report and its long over-due conclusions. All mandatory minimums may perhaps have to go--but the ones for non-violent drug offenses certainly must go.

You can get more addicted to

You can get more addicted to chocolate than marijuana.

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