Pubdate: Thu, 29 Nov 2001
Source: Columbian, The (WA)
Copyright: 2001 The Columbian Publishing Co.
Author: James R. Johnson
Bookmark: (Mandatory Minimum Sentencing)


On Oct. 26, I was sentenced to five years in prison for growing

This is my first felony offense, with no prior record.  I've written
to my senators and representatives asking why the disparity between
federal and state sentencing guidelines.  On the state level, the
sentence range is between three to nine months.

The media report frequently that people convicted of violent crimes
don't receive sentences as long as my conviction.  A case in point is
an Oct. 30 story, "Molester meted short sentence, treatment."  Instead
of a possible 10-year term, a child molester of three girls gets only
six months.

My marijuana conviction also subjected all my assets to seizure. The
child molester was allowed to sell his home in order to move away from
the neighborhood.  Apparently violent crimes against innocent children
are secondary to the war on drugs.

Several states, including Washington, are moving toward sentencing
reform for nonviolent crimes.  Yet our federal government is still
incarcerating nonviolent offenders like myself to long prison sentences.

In today's times of real threats to the security of our country, is
this the best use of our tax dollars?

James R. Johnson

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