If a person robs or hurts someone, I want him locked up.
But for how long? What's the right sentence?
On our show this week, former Prosecutor Lis Wiehl says it's good that lawmakers require courts to lock criminals away for automatic, "mandatory minimum," sentences...sometimes for 10 years, 20 years, or for some crimes, life.
FAMM's Julie Stewart says no, that mandatory minimums lead to terrible injustices. Peter Ninemire got a 24 year "mandatory minimum" sentence for selling marijuana: Ninemire's judge thought the sentence excessive, but said the law tied his hands. Fortunately for Ninemire, President Clinton commuted his sentence.
Unfortunately for thousands of others serving disproportionate jail terms, Presidents only pardon a few, politically-connected people. That's not justice for all.
Journalist Radley Balko says our justice system is flawed. It incentivizes police corruption. It puts innocent people in prison. Tea Party activist Mark Meckler was arrested for trying to do the right thing: telling authorities at LaGuardia Airport that he had a licensed gun.