Judge Mark W. Bennett, who sits in the Northern District of Iowa, has written a compelling article for The Nation about our over the top mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines for non-violent drug offenders. He has had to sentence over 1,000 non-violent drug offenders over the past 19 years.
Here is an excerpt:
Crack defendants are almost always poor African-Americans. Meth defendants are generally lower-income whites. More than 80 percent of the 4,546 meth defendants sentenced in federal courts in 2010 received a mandatory minimum sentence. These small-time addicts are apprehended not through high-tech wiretaps or sophisticated undercover stings but by common traffic stops for things like nonfunctioning taillights. Or they’re caught in a search of the logs at a local Walmart to see who is buying unusually large amounts of nonprescription cold medicine. They are the low-hanging fruit of the drug war. Other than their crippling meth addiction, they are…
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