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New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL

New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers - NYSACDL
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NYSACDL Opposes Mandatory Minimums

The national debate on mandatory minimum sentences, often imposed on non-violent, first time drug offenders was brought to the fore in a recent New York Times Article, For Lesser Crimes, Rethinking Life Behind Bars, NYT, 12/11/2012, John Tierney.   NYSACDL continues to oppose these sentences as unjust as explained by  NYSACDL President Richard Willstatter in his Letter to the Editor:

To the Editor:

Laws requiring mandatory minimum periods of imprisonment, a result of politicians’ wish to appear tough on crime, often result in unfair and unduly harsh sentences.

Across our country, people are serving lengthy sentences that are altogether disproportionate to their crimes and circumstances. The judiciary should have the responsibility of weighing the goals of sentencing to find the length of imprisonment that is just and appropriate for individual offenders.

While there have been some reforms, mandatory minimum sentences often cause the imprisonment of offenders for far longer than is sufficient or necessary. Taxpayers bear some of the financial costs, but the offenders, their families and their communities also suffer under the weight of these unjust laws.

RICHARD D. WILLSTATTER

President, New York State Association

of Criminal Defense Lawyers

White Plains, Dec. 12, 2012

Additional Letters to the New York Times on the topic