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ABA Seeks End to Mandatory Minimum Prison Terms

June 24, 2004  | 

Some laws intended to combat crime are not effective or simply unfair, such as requiring minimum prison terms for small-time drug offenders, says a study from the American Bar Association.

The nation’s largest lawyers group conducted the yearlong study in response to a request from Supreme Court Justice Anthony M. Kennedy to review practices in the criminal justice system for problems.

In his speech last year, Kennedy spoke of an imbalance of power leaning toward prosecutors and leaving little room for judges to make their own decisions in meting out sentences. “The political phrase ‘tough on crime’ should not lead us into moral blindness,” Kennedy said.

The study’s recommendations will be considered by the ABA House of Delegates for adoption as association policy at its annual meeting in August.

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