Please Sign the Petition to Congress Urging Reduction of Mandatory Minimum Sentencing
In a recent article on this blog, my oldest son (Thomas) and I wrote about a bill presently being considered in committees of both houses of Congress, the Justice Safety Valve Act. It is designed “to prevent unjust and irrational criminal punishments.” If enacted, it would allow judges more discretion in sentencing below the mandatory minimum for many federal crimes if they are convinced that doing so would not endanger public safety. Not only would passage of the Justice Safety Valve Act prevent lives and money from being wasted, it would also demonstrate to politicians and average citizens in this time of ideological rigidity that Congress still can, at least occasionally, come together to work for the common good.
We also noted that despite considerable bipartisan support (e.g., Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are co-sponsors of the Senate bill), GovTrack.us gives the bill less than a 1 in 5 chance of being passed by either Congressional house. But members of Congress do pay some attention to their constituents, though perhaps not as much as to powerful lobbyists. If ever there was a time for us to contact our Congressional representatives, this is the time.
Perhaps all the pain caused by the recent governmental shutdown has sobered some of our representatives, and they might be more willing than before to display bipartisanship. You can help by clicking the link here and then signing the petition. Let’s not just complain about our dysfunctional Congress. Let’s demonstrate that ordinary citizens still have a voice that matters in our democracy.
Walter G. Moss