Opinion Piece On The Dangers Of Mandatory Minimum Sentences


Former United States Senator Robert Bennett of Utah wrote an opinion piece for the Deseret News out of Salt Lake city, in which he discusses the dangers of mandatory minimum sentences for criminal offenses. His primary point in writing the piece is that the recent trend toward involvement by the federal government in fairly common crimes that would once have been considered state or local issues, which includes the creation of mandatory sentencing laws, has had a high cost both financially and in the rights of Americans. He focuses on the idea that when a person has been convicted of a crime, the judge, who has heard all the details of that particular case, should have the discretion to decide how strict or lenient the sentence should be. With mandatory minimums, many people spend an inordinate amount of time in prison for relatively minor offenses, which Bennett believes should not have been tried in federal court in the first place, but should have been handled in state court.

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