Comments about ‘Robert Bennett: Federal offense laws overly intrusive’

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Published: Monday, April 1 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

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cjb
Bountiful, UT

"Case in point: A 20-year-old man was arrested for possession of $350 worth of marijuana. Because he was carrying a gun (which he never used) federal guidelines sentenced him to 55 years in federal prison. Had he not had the marijuana but instead shot someone and pled guilty to manslaughter, his sentence would have been far less than that".

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What I find amazing is that given this obvious injustice, Congress does nothing to fix what they have done. I also find it amazing that no president sees fit to pardon this man and others who are victims of bad laws. If common decency isn't enough to do either, wasting of our tax dollars should be a motivator. How can we afford to keep such people in prison? The US has more people in prison per capita than any other nation. What are we getting for this huge expense?

The Skeptical Chymist
SALT LAKE CITY, UT

Thank you, Senator Bennett, for pointing out some of the injustices that are perpetrated by mandatory minimum sentencing laws. We are destroying the lives of many of our young people by these laws, particularly those that mandate lengthy minimum sentences for minor drug crimes.

Albert Maslar CPA (Retired)
Absecon, NJ

Street drugs though harmful to health of individuals, are generally not harmful to the rest of the population. Incarceration rates are needlessly too high, prohibitively costly, and mixes these offenders with hard-core criminals.

louie
Cottonwood Heights, UT

For many reasons Mr. Bennett is absolutely correct.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

The notion that a crime against our society is different because of arbitrary definitions by different governments in itself a crime against America. The problem is that we have too many governments over the same people.

Most of the major strife of our nation is between our governments, with the conflict centered of commercial aspects. Governments from the federal to the smallest town control the commercial activity of their venue. And each government has a different set of commercial interests with different goals and philosophies.

200 years ago the physical location and distance between people required local governments. That condition no longer exists. Yet the seemingly sacred notions about government needs have not changed. The most glaring example of such a false notion is that people have the most control over local government because they are close to it. The number of scams in local government to steal from the people belie that notion.

If we are to have smaller, less costly and better government we need to eliminate the redundant and duplicated governments.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

“Street drugs though harmful to health of individuals, are generally not harmful to the rest of the population. Incarceration rates are needlessly too high, prohibitively costly, and mixes these offenders with hard-core criminals.”

In the last half century, my extended family has be decimated by the street drugs. The innocent along with the guilty.

I would support the mandatory execution of anyone who makes, sell, transports or otherwise promotes the use of street drugs.

Jon W.
Murray, UT

Why is kidnapping a federal offense? Because a national hero's (Charles Lindbergh's) son was kidnapped and murdered and the public outcry was so great that Congress made it a federal offense. Maybe it's once again time to trust states with investigating and prosecuting that crime as well.

Obama10
SYRACUSE, UT

Although I agree with Fmr. Senator Bennett, I find it funny that as I read your articles, you act as though you are an outsider who had no effect on the subject. I don't remember in your 18 years of service, you ever making this point and trying to do away with the Federal Mandatory minimum sentences. You act as though your hands are clean, but you had 18 years to stop this problem. Just like TARP, federal spending, or the Iraq war, you could have voted differently, and I find it somewhat hypocritical that you now act as if your hands are clean. I am still waiting for the postcard sized tax form you promised in 1993 in your campaign ads.

Brer Rabbit
Spanish Fork, UT

Probably the only way to end the drug problem would be the Chinese method under Mao Zedong. The Chinese people were highly addicted to opium, primarily due to English business interests in India that needed outlets for their product. The Chinese tried to fight back during the opium wars but were unsuccessful .

Under Mao those that were repeat users and dealers were given death sentences, which over a few years ended the opium trade in China. In recent years as China has relaxed enforcement their drug problem is beginning to return. Relaxing the enforcement against illegal drugs is not the answer. There may in fact be no real answer other than Mao's method. No I don't advocate Mao's method. Education has not been effective.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

Brer Rabbit

I do.

iron&clay
RIVERTON, UT

I agree with Ultrabob's comment of too much government.

Congress should eliminate federal intrusion into the power that belongs to the people and the States.*

*10th amendment to US Constitution.

Ultra Bob
Cottonwood Heights, UT

iron&clay
RIVERTON, UT

Apparently you don't understand the significance of the word "or". The unfortunate truth is that the states are different entities than the people. The Constitutional use of the word "state" has the meaning of the "state government unit". The impediments placed on voting by the people, by the state governments have effectively robbed the people of their power over government, for the time being.

barry60x
Rutherford, NJ

Like a mass murderer who later feels regret, Robert Bennett now espouses the idea that there are too many people in federal prison. Where were these sentiments when he was in a position to meaningfully act upon them?

What passes for justice on a federal level in this country is a disgrace. Federal prosecutors, with their absurd 99% conviction rate, pose a greater threat to the populace than those they are supposedly protecting us from. It's nice to see Bennett's take on the matter. Too bad he didn't do something about it when he could.

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