Thursday, October 6, 2016

Erwin Chemerinsky Attacks Minimum Mandatory Sentences in Face of Judicial Outrage

The entire nation reacted in outrage at the 6-month sentence handed down to Stanford University swimmer Brock Turner after he raped a co-ed who was passed out drunk on campus. In reaction, the California Legislature passed a mandatory minimum sentence law which was signed by Governor Jerry Brown. That didn't sit too well with UC Irvine Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinksy, who argues in today's Orange County Register that the law will disproportionately affect minorities . Furthermore, Chemerinsky puts more faith in judges than he does prosecutors. After all, judges are "carefully chosen" (his words).

"Moreover, transferring this discretion to prosecutors inevitably exacerbates inequities in our criminal justice system. Also, every study of discretion in the criminal justice system has demonstrated that, inevitably, it is exercised to the disadvantage of minority defendants."

It would help if Chemo gave at least one source for that statement. Isn't that what professors always tell their students when they assign them to write papers? Isn't that what good attorneys do when they try to make a legal point-cite laws and previous rulings?

In addition, let us not forget that the culprit in this case, Brock Turner, is white. His sentence was an outrage-no matter what his ethnicity. 

Let me play Devil's Advocate here. If white defendants get off more lightly than minority defendants, is Judge Aaron Persky's sentence here an example? Maybe we should take the discretion out of the hands of similar judges.

Let's cut to the chase here: Chemerinsky is a liberal. That is the reason he doesn't like mandatory minimums.

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