OPINION: Mandatory Minimums Are Unfortunate, But Necessary

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From PittsIndeed.com:

As you’re probably aware, Plaxico Burress is going to be spending some quality time with the New York State correctional facilities for doing various dumb ass things while concealing an unlicensed firearm–not the least of those things being shooting himself in the leg.

Since he was offered a three month plea and rejected it, I have no problem with him getting the two years he agreed to after realizing prosecutors were going to throw the book at him.

Others do have a problem with this, feeling that Burress is getting a raw deal and a too-harsh penalty. Those who feel his stupidity only warranted a few months in jail–a few months that was rejected by Burress in his initial plea bargain–cite an outrage at the justice system, particularly with regard to minimum sentencing.

While I see the flaws in minimum sentencing–many seem arbitrary; others so obviously racially-motivated that you would laugh if it wasn’t so despicable–I still see far greater flaws in leaving the administration of justice to a case-by-case basis system. Why? Because those who support such a reform seem to do so under the assumption that, without guidelines, judges and prosecutors will be inclined to handle each case as unique and, in doing so, do the right thing.

That seems unlikely. Why? Because most people, good and bad alike, don’t have the energy to even attempt to bring an unbiased approach to sentencing based on facts particular to each and every case. And even if they have that energy, to expect them to not be affected by precedent is borderline foolhardy.

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