The thousands of nonviolent crimes that have resulted in LWOP sentences include possession of a crack pipe, a smudge of heroin in a bottle cap, and "a trace amount of cocaine in clothes pockets that was so minute it was invisible to the naked eye and detected only in lab tests," according to the report. In each case, the defendant had previously been convicted of other crimes -- often decades-old and mostly of the non-violent variety.
Prisoners serving life without parole make up one of the fastest-growing populations in the prison system, according to the ACLU's analysis of data from the United States Sentencing Commission, the federal Bureau of Prisons and state corrections departments. The report attributes this rise partly to the prevalence of mandatory-minimum sentencing laws and other punitive drug policies embraced by lawmakers who hoped to define themselves as "tough on crime" in the '80s and '90s.
Just heartbreaking to read these. I read every one and I hope you do too. Shame on those who voted for mandatory minimum sentencing for drugs. Even the judges in a lot of those cases were sickened by decisions they made while their hands were tied.
There really is therefore no judge in these cases. Their cases are thus not heard. Sounds unconstitutional to me.
Just a bunch of insane laws. I'd like to know specifically how they got there; who voted for them.
The legislature here has literally also become the judge, jury and executioner.
2:33 PM PT: Tonight I will be where there is no computer. So I have to sign off now. Back ASAP.