Pubdate: Sat, 08 May 1999
Date: 05/08/1999
Source: Wisconsin State Journal (WI)
Author: Jesse Goplen

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.