From the equality of rights springs identity of our highest interests; you cannot subvert your neighbor's rights without striking a dangerous blow at your own. Carl Schurz

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Barbara Scrivner:A Case Study InThe Insanity Of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing

With the Harper government's commitment to mandatory minimum sentences for some drug crimes it may be a good idea to take a look at how this policy has worked in the US,especially since they are using the American model as their guide. Which is bizarre to say the least since the Americans themselves are starting to realize that the policy of mandatory minimums  is an abject failure and are backing away from them.

Many states have or are in the process of repealing these laws or reducing the severity of the sentences imposed for drug crimes, some realizing the inherent unfairness of some of these sentences are retroactively applying these rollbacks.

Families Against Mandatory Minimums (FAMM) is an organization deicated to the repeal of these draconian statutes. They have on their website a ton of information regarding this topic, including several profiles of people caught up in the war on drugs and who have received patently unjust sentences Barbara Scrivner is one that stands out in it's unfairness.
Below is an excerpt from her profile. To view the complete profile click here

Only 18 grams of meth were actually discovered. At Barbara’s residence, however, authorities found only paperwork, small Ziploc baggies, scales, miscellaneous drug paraphernalia, and small trace quantities of suspected methamphetamine. 
Initially, Barbara was not arrested with the six other participants.  It was only after she refused to testify against the conspirators that she was indicted—one full year later—based on the testimony of the leader’s girlfriend, who had delivered drugs to Barbara, and the culpability of Barbara’s husband.  The government offered Barbara a plea bargain of 10 years in exchange for her cooperation.  Since Barbara knew nothing about the conspiracy beyond her husband’s participation, she instead opted for a jury trial, not realizing the severity of the sentence awaiting her. 
The total weight of methamphetamine for Barbara’s sentence was 108.9 kilograms: 93 kilograms extrapolated from the nitroethane in the drum and 15.9 kilograms for what the government estimated that the conspiracy distributed between July and November 1992.   Though the government determined Barbara was a minor participant, her prior convictions elevated her sentencing guideline range to 292-365 months.  Barbara was sentenced to 360 months, or 30 years, in federal prison.

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