In this video, President Josiah Bartlet, the fictional Democratic president played by Martin Sheen on NBC's hit series The West Wing, addresses Congress for the first time in eight years to call for drug sentencing reform:
A basic principle of justice is that the punishment should fit the crime. Mandatory minimums undermine that principle by forcing judges to ignore individual circumstances.
Sheen isn't alone in the video. He's joined by several law enforcement experts and professionals with the same message - too many nonviolent offenders are behind bars and mandatory minimum sentencing laws are largely to blame.
At 0:57, former Orange County, Calif., Superior Court Judge Jim Gray - the 2012 Libertarian vice-presidential nominee - shares his own belief on the matter. "No one can in advance decide a reasonable sentence without knowing what the circumstances were."
I've known of judges, federal [and] state, who are literally in tears because they know that the sentence is inappropriate but they have to follow the law. And so they would apologize to people, but as they're sending them to prison for 10 years they know full well it shouldn't even be a prison sentence, but that's what the law requires.
Via The Hill