The outrage of mandatory minimums compounded by the lack of the clemency safety valve

24-Year-Old Gets 3 Life Terms in Prison for Witnessing a Drug Deal: The Ugly Truth of Mandatory Drug Sentencing

At the age of 24, Aaron was sentenced to three life terms for his role in a cocaine deal. That’s effectively three times the sentence imposed upon Faisal Shahzad, who tried to set off a car bomb in Times Square in 2010. Aaron was a student and football player at Southern University in Baton Rouge. He’d never been arrested. In 1992, he made the mistake of being present for the sale of nine kilograms of cocaine and the conversion of one kilo of coke to crack. Aaron would have earned $1,500 for introducing the buyer and seller. He never actually touched the drugs.

It’s a good article, written by someone else who is serving an exceptionally long time in prison for a small drug crime.

It points out the added injustice when the judge and pretty much everyone involved in the case thinks that the prisoner should be released, but there’s no mechanism to do so when Presidents fear to use their clemency power.

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