Ironically, most sentencing guidelines are created by the same hypocritical politicians who toe-tap in the bathrooms looking for sex, have kids with the maid, have gay lovers on the down-low, take millions as "consultants", use campaign funds to keep their lovers while their wife is dying of cancer, lie about getting shot at by snipers, drowned a student and failed to report the accident, get convicted of possession of cocaine, go to jail for wire fraud, conspiracy, extortion, racketeering, money laundering and making false statements to insurance regulators, get busted destroying evidence and tampering with witness testimony, send sexually suggestive photos of themselves to strangers, get caught on surveillance cameras deeply kissing married staffers, et al.
Vetiges of the Eighties and Nineties amid rising crime and racially coded political fearmongering, mandatory penalties — like minimum sentences triggered by drug weight, automatic sentencing enhancements, and three-strikes laws — have flooded state and federal prisons with nonviolent offenders. Intended to ensure uniform discipline, these policies simply shifted discretion to prosecutors. Judges lost latitude to tailor sanctions based on whether someone was a kingpin or courier.
By linking punishment to drug weight, mandatory minimums often distort culpability; consider that a hired hand unloading contraband from the back of a truck may handle more drugs than the cartel leader who arranged the shipment. Forty percent of drug defendants in the federal system were couriers or street dealers.
It's clear that federal sentences are still out of whack. Interviews with prosecutors and defense attorneys, for example, reveal that inconsistencies in application of mandatory minimum penalties exist between districts, and often within districts, where individual prosecutors exercise their discretion differently. In part, these differences may have developed to avoid the overly severe consequences that result from certain mandatory minimum penalties applying in individual cases. prosecutors are exercising the discretion that once belonged to judges, effectively determining offenders' sentences by deciding how to charge them.
Politics and money are too influential in the outcome; Robert H. Richards IV was convicted of rape, the wealthy heir to the du Pont family fortune was spared prison for raping his toddler daughter, the Delaware court in 2009 said he would "not fare well" behind bars and Samuel Curtis “S. C.” Johnson III, a 59-year-old billionaire heir to the S. C. Johnson & Sons (formerly Johnson’s Wax) fortune, who confessed to repeatedly sexually assaulting his teenage stepdaughter, received only four months prison sentence. While a Florida circuit court sentenced Daniel Enrique Guevara Vilca, a stockroom clerk whose home computer contained a cache of child pornography but never made contact with a human victim, to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
It's not about just keeping the jails full, it's a bout real justice and fitting punishments to match the crime.