“Will Hawaii continue dancing in the dark with law enforcement or restore discretion to our courts? “

Article in Honolulu Civil Beat, April 11, 2013, by Kat Brady:

Hawaii Should Return Sentencing Discretion to Judges


It took the 2008 economic crisis for states to realize that locking up nonviolent drug lawbreakers is costly and unsustainable and that the war on drugs has been an abject failure. Sanity seems to be taking hold in more than half of the U.S. — the world’s largest jailer…

The only reasonable conclusion one can draw from New York’s experiment with mandatory minimum drug laws is that despite prosecutors’ promises, reliance on mandatory minimums failed to control crime or drug activity, and despite prosecutors’ predictions, repeal of mandatory minimums has not led to increased crime or drug activity…

Law enforcement vehemently promotes mandatory minimums because prosecutorial discretion is essentially conducted behind closed doors, whereas that of a sentencing judge is conducted in an open courtroom.

Hawaii has a chance to get on the right side of history by enacting into law SB 68 SD1 HD1 that passed 3rd reading in the House. Will Hawaii continue dancing in the dark with law enforcement or restore discretion to our courts?

Here for CAP Testimony on SB 68, March 22, 2013

For more on SB 68 and mandatory minimums:
– We’re on the right track! SB 68 coming up for floor vote; more on mandatory minimum, April 9, 2013
– SB 68 Restoring Judicial Discretion for B & C Drug Felonies: Hearing on Thursday, March 27, 2013
Mandatory Minimum Sentences: Exemplifying the Law of Unintended Consequences, Christopher Mascharka, Florida State University Law Review (2001)


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