February 14, 2011

Your Tax Dollars At Work

I was working on a reply brief today in a case in which our client sold pills - Oxycontins - to a confidential informant working for the police.  He made three sales, each involving two pills.  So he sold a total of 6 pills to the cops.  Upon searching his residence, the cops found 100 more pills (of a different variety, however).

For his misdeeds, our client faced a suggested Guideline sentence of somewhere between 51 months (the bottom of the range we argued for) and 78 months (the top of the range the court adopted) in prison.  He got 63 - just over five years in the pen.

While working on the reply brief, I came across a case from 1991 in which the defendant was convicted of 2nd degree murder.  Actually killed somebody, snuffed out the life of another human being (which, if you've been reading here lately, is kind of a big deal).  So what sentence did he face for this act?

Between 46 and 57 months in prison.

If you asked kids which was worse - killing someone or selling them a couple of pills, I'm pretty sure they'd realize it's an easy question.  But that's what the War on Drugs has done to us.  Not only has it pretty much eviscerated the Fourth Amendment, it's completely messed up our sense of proportionality when it comes to sentencing.

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