Pubdate: Wed, 27 Aug 2003
Source: Daily Independent, The (KY)
Address: In Your View, P.O. Box 311, Ashland, KY 41105-0311
Copyright: 2003 The Daily Independent, Inc.
Author: Stephen Heath


Your Aug. 22 editorial headlined "Fear factor" was right on target
concerning Attorney General John Ashcroft's pronouncement that federal
judges not utilize their legal right for downward departures in
federal sentencing.

This decision likely was spurred by the recent one-day sentence handed
down for California medical marijuana supplier Ed Rosenthal, when a
possible life sentence was a viable option for Judge Charles Breyer.
Since drug-related convictions are the largest source of federal
prison inmates, such discretion by federal judges threatens the steady
flow of non-violent offenders to the federal prison system.

It's clear Ashcroft is a key player in the current agenda of the
Brothers Bush to further America's role as the world's leading jailer.
As governor of Texas from 1992 to 2000, George W. built the Texas
prison system into the largest in the free world for per capita
incarceration. Here in Florida, Governor (and potential presidential
candidate in 2008) Jeb Bush currently oversees record numbers of
inmates, with this past June being the highest influx of new prisoners

News from the past week shows that drug offenders are what is fueling
the massive increase here in Florida. Judges who legally disagree with
the Bush strategy do not deserve the arm twisting from Ashcroft and
should be left alone to do their jobs without his bullying.


Public Relations Director
Drug Policy Forum of Florida

Clearwater, Fla.
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