Pubdate: Thu, 26 Jul 2007
Source: St. Petersburg Times (FL)
Copyright: 2007 St. Petersburg Times
Author: John Chase


I doubt that prosecutors even considered whether or not Mark O'Hara 
was a drug trafficker. Strange as it sounds, "justice" is not their 
job. Their job is to convict as many defendants as possible, and when 
the law gives them the power, they do it. The root cause of the Mark 
O'Hara case is the Florida Legislature.

Enacting mandatory minimum sentencing laws, we now know, transfers 
too much courtroom power from the judge and jury to the prosecutor. 
When such sentencing law is coupled with antidrug law, as it is in 
this case, the results are often unjust.

The change most needed is to delete the subchapter that added 
mandatory sentencing to the Florida Statutes. Such a change has 
nothing to do with legalizing drugs; it simply would give courtroom 
power back the judge and jury in drug prosecutions.

John Chase, Palm Harbor
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