Jacob Sullum in Forbes: Mandatory Minimums Give Prosecutors the Power to Coerce Guilty Pleas

In 2005 Sandra
Avery was arrested for possessing 50 grams of crack cocaine with
intent to deliver. That amount, less than two ounces, was enough to
trigger a 10-year mandatory minimum sentence. Because federal
prosecutors did not offer to reduce the sentence, Avery went to
trial. She was convicted and received a mandatory life sentence
after prosecutors called the court’s attention to two prior
convictions for possessing small amounts of crack. Writing in
Forbes, Senioir Editor Jacob Sullum explains how that kind
of disparity magnifies the injustice caused by mandatory minimum
sentencing rules, punishing people more severely for exercising
their right to a trial than for violating the drug laws.

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from Hit & Run http://reason.com/blog/2013/12/13/jacob-sullum-in-forbes-mandatory-minimum

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