...compel her to join in the effort to repeal mandatory minimum sentencing provisions for most drug and non-violent offenses. Not only are mandatory sentences in most instances unduly harsh, coercive, and inefficacious, but they allow for an arbitrary and discriminatory application that is essentially unreviewable by courts. The author distinguishes this argument against mandatory minimum penalties from the so-called "Smart on Crime" movement, by grounding a prosecutor's duty to promote sentencing reform in ethical reasoning as opposed to pragmatic or cost-savings considerations.
The second thing wrong with Prof. Cassidy's argument is that, having assumed the apparently invincible correctness of its position, the remedy for prosecutors who do not agree is to be branded "unethical" rather than merely mistaken or misguided. The arrogance, and more ominously the thuggishness, of this "remedy" is astounding.
The third thing wrong with it is its flagrant unconstitutionality. Under the First Amendment, no one can be coerced into saying or believing anything. But Prof. Cassidy would use the coercive power of ethics sanctions -- ultimately backed up by the state supreme court -- to force prosecutors into supporting his version of sentencing "reform."
I might add that, under the Professor's view, Eric Holder himself is to be labelled "unethical," since he has directed federal prosecutors in many cases to write the indictment in a way that would not invoke the minimum sentence, but, conspicuously, has not called for their abolition, either by executive fiat or (more appropriately if abolition is to be done) by the Congress that enacted them.
I have from time to time criticized the increasing tendency of liberals to use muscle when persuasion falls flat. Prof. Cassidy is of course free to hold his beliefs and vocally to argue for them, as others, particularly in academia, have done. One would hope he would accommodate the freedom of those still practicing as prosecutors to think and argue in opposition. But by branding their disagreement as unethical -- and thus necessarily as sanctionable by the bar -- he would, not only besmirch their integrity, but use the power of the court to punish them and coerce their genuflection.
P.S. I intend to email this post to Prof. Cassidy and invite him to respond if he cares to. Reasoned dissent may no longer be welcome in some quarters, but it is welcome here.