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Sentencing Summit

I was pleased to be invited to attend the Sentencing Summit in Augusta yesterday. Every judge in the State was in attendance, as were various Legislators, Governor's representatives and Corrections Officials. The point that was made repeatedly, and that was echoed by many who practice criminal defense work, was that the concept of jailing individuals who are low-risk offenders actually increases recidivism. Members of the Criminal Justice Committee of the State Senate were asked to stop criminalizing conduct merely as a reaction to what their constituents think they want. As Sen. Bill Diamond pointed out, the citizens are a powerful voice, and legislators listen to them. This summit was useful (hopefully) if only to make the point that mandatory minimums (such as those in Tina's Law) only serve to hurt the efforts at those in the trenches who are trying come to a resolution that resembles justice. An article about the summit can be found at the WCSH website or through the following link: http://www.wcsh6.com/news/article.aspx?storyid=73680

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