Saturday, April 08, 2006

Be reasonable, please

Doc Berman hits the nail on the head with this question about the legitimacy of federal sentencing guidelines:
Is a system that declares distribution of 5 ounces of crack more serious than conspiracy to commit murder and criminal sexual abuse really the sort of system that should be afforded a presumption of reasonableness?
No friggin kidding!


Anonymous said...

A level 34 is that way with crack because 5 grams is a minimum 5 years and that's Congress who set minimum mandatory penalties back in the 90's, not the "system".

Since Congress writes the laws, I guess they are the authors of the system but most judges don't like minimum mandatories because there's no discretion.

If a task force agent wants to buy some cocaine and tells the dealer he'd rather have crack. And the dealer cooks it even though he's doing it as a favor, the penalty goes from probably probation (5 grams of cocaine) to a minimum 5 years in jail for a favor. Hmmmmmmmm.

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