Pubdate: Sat, 08 May 1999 Date: 05/08/1999 Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI) Author: Jesse Goplen Related: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v99/n422/a12.html I was deeply impressed by the lack of power that judges have in our courts after reading U.S. District Court Judge Barbara Crabb's comments in the April 16 news story on the sentencing of Dawn Roth. Judge Crabb was forced to sentence Roth to 37 months in prison, over her own objections, due to federal sentencing guidelines, often called "mandatory-minimum" sentencing. Mandatory minimum sentences are a disgrace to democracy. We, the people, elect judges to be arbiters of justice, and we want judges to make sentencing decisions, not prosecutors. No two crimes are exactly alike, and we need to allow judges the ability to make free decisions in these matters. Jesse Goplen, Richland Center Editor's note: Circuit court judges in Wisconsin, who often handle state drug cases, are elected. But federal judges like Crabb are appointed for life.