Mandatory Minimum: The Cruel Truth About Our Society
By Amberly Clark
Did you know that certain crimes, if proveable, require a certain amount of penance, no negotiation? Some of them include possession of drugs and gun violence ranging from 5-40 years. You may think this is a reasonable punishment, but what if I told you that sometimes those who are convicted don’t have an opportunity to appeal in a court due to this federal law? The federal law known as the “Mandatory Minimum,” is a law that, basically, forces a judge to exact a very precise amount of jail time upon a person who has committed a certain crime. Mandatory Minimum is a law that usually applies to drugs, but I want to point out the injustice of this law. I’m not trying to say that guilty people should not suffer any consequences, but I argue that even these people get a trial, should they want one. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty, once a person is caught committing a crime, the law calls for immediate arrest, and the sentence is set before the convict even reaches the courtroom.
To put it simply, the article, “Mandatory Minimum in a Nutshell,” says, “A person is convicted of selling 28 grams of an illegal drug. The mandatory sentence is 5 years in prison without parole. The court must give this sentence, even if it is too harsh for the offender, his role in the offense, or the nature of the crime.” This sums up perfectly the true nature of the law that is humanized by our legal system.The article “Mandatory Minimum in a Nutshell,” once again illustrates a good point in saying, “Anyone who has ever bought a “one size fits all” T-shirt knows that one size never fits all! In fact, “one size fits all” shirts are usually too big on most people! “ Now who can argue with that!?
This Law originated with anti-drug laws dating all the way back to the 1900s. The law itself however was created by congress in 1986 and throughout this time period, over 300,000 people have received the harsh punishment known as the Mandatory Minimum Law. An article written on cfpj.org claims, “Mandatory minimum sentences have persisted for decades despite opposition by citizens and judges. But over the last few years, South Carolina and Rhode Island have eliminated at least some drug mandatory minimums completely, presenting a model for federal reform.” Despite the obvious problems of our legal system throughout the decades, it can be reformed, it is the duty of those who have the power, have the knowledge, to speak up, and we encourage that you do so.
This article has illustrated so many flaws in our legal system. We all have flaws, but should we really continue to turn a blind eye when our country as a whole is hurting because of them? Things can change, but only if you allow them too. I encourage each and every single one of you to think, to speak, and to read. I have written many articles about America’s problems, Dallas’ problems. Please educate yourselves. I have linked some of my articles below. Thank you for reading, and I hope that my article has altered your perspective about our system.
Underfunding of Public Defenders- https://aspiringjournalists.akcusa.org/underfunding-of-public-defenders
Justice for Former Juveniles-https://aspiringjournalists.akcusa.org/justice-for-former-juveniles
The Truth About the Foster System-https://aspiringjournalists.akcusa.org/the-truth-about-the-foster-system
What the Media Doesn’t Tell You About Black Protests-https://aspiringjournalists.akcusa.org/what-the-media-doesnt-tell-you-about-black-protests
“Criminal Defense Law.” David Finn, P.C., www.dallascriminallawyer.com/federal-criminal-defense/drug-related-offenses/.
“Mandatory Minimums in a Nutshell.” FAMM, 26 Apr. 2012, famm.org/.
“Mandatory Minimums and Sentencing Reform.” Criminal Justice Policy Foundation, www.cjpf.org/mandatory-minimums.
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