Why Mandatory Minimum Sentences are EVIL

ESPN the Magazine, not normally known for its coverage of things legal brings us this outrageous story of a high school honor student and sports star now doing 10 years on a conviction for “aggravated child molestation.” Seems the young man was stupid enough to receive oral sex at a party from a girl, who everyone agrees initiated the encounter, who was just 2 years younger thna he was, but still a year under the age of consent. Under Georgia law, if the boy and girl had had intercourse, he’d have been charged with a misdemeanor. For some odd, stupid reason, the act of oral sex qualified him for the child mloestation charge (evidently the state legislature re-wrote the law, but refused to apply it retroactively). For some reason of politics or pure spite, the prosecutors chose to charge and prosecute an offense that they knew did not fit the facts. So much for justice. Let Genarlow Wilson pay the price for some pathetic prosecutor’s political ambitions.

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2 Responses to Why Mandatory Minimum Sentences are EVIL
  1. January 26, 2007 | 6:55 pm

    Mark,
    This is just another example of over reaching on the part of prosecutors. I remember being asked by a non-lawyer relative, who holds to the “lock em up and throw away the key” theory, how I could in good conscience defend criminals I know are guilty.

    My answer, which I will admit is a gross and unfair generalization toward prosecutors, was that as a group I have found prosecutors to be the most unethical of all other lawyers I know. (Remember my disclaimers, but I still believe that statement has a lot of truth to it).

    Second, I have represented defendents who were guilty of perhaps a two year offense, but the prosecutors were trying to send them away for, say, fourteen years by piling on all kinds of other charges.

    I think we have a real problem with prosecutorial misconduct in this country and there is little political will to do anything about it.

    Ok, I’ll step off my soapbox, but thanks for the post.

    Charles Brown, JD
    http://askcrimelawyer.blogspot.com

  2. January 29, 2007 | 7:42 pm

    Charles,

    I completely agree with you about the pervasiveness of prosecutorial misconduct. Unfortunately, it seems to me that its one of those issues that no one cares about until it bites them in the ass. Many thanks for the comment, and I hope you’ll keep reading.

    MJ