Oct 22, 1999
We've all heard occasional news stories about how some of the drug laws enacted in the last 15 years may have gone too far. First time offenders get locked up for decades. Judges—even Republican appointees—say that mandatory minimum sentences prevent them from making fair rulings. But have sentences really gone too far?
This hour examines the areas where a consensus is growing on the problems in federal drug laws, and it explains the areas where drug laws seem to be administered fairly.
- Judges give their opinions of the drug sentencing laws. Terry Hatter is the Chief U.S. District Judge for the Central District of California. He says that under the current federal guidelines, 20 percent of the time he can't give the sentence he thinks will be fair. Judge Morris Lasker, of the Southern District of New York, a veteran of over 30 years on the bench, stopped hearing drug cases for several years. Eighty-six percent of federal judges believe the current guidelines need to be loosened. (6 minutes)
From Chuck Coker.