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Chicago and the Need for Mandatory Minimums

I noted in an earlier post that, after Chicago murders spiked to more than 500 in 2012, the police chief has now recommended stricter gun control, including a mandatory minimum sentence of three years for anyone carrying an illegal gun.  This has sparked renewed interest in the subject of mandatory minimums generally.

As I noted, it seems to me perfectly appropriate for the legislature to deem some crimes, by their nature, so serious that in no event should the sentence fall below a set floor.  Which crimes, and what the floor should be, are legitimate subjects for debate, but the idea that the most representative branch of the government  --  the legislature  --  should be altogether cut out of establishing baseline floors for sentencing strikes me as indefensible.

To those who say that judges should have 100% control over sentencing, I would respond that there is recent evidence, from Chicago itself, that such overweening faith in judges is not always, uh, justified.  Yes, that, and there was the other problem too.

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