A good argument against mandatory minimum sentences

Plaxico Burress broke the law, and should have known better. There’s no doubt about that. But two years in jail – more than Michael Vick got for sadistic animal abuse, and much more than Donte’ Stallworth got for killing a man while driving drunk – for an incident in which he only hurt himself? Ridiculous.

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15 thoughts on “A good argument against mandatory minimum sentences

  1. burress was carrying a gun and the moron shot himself. who the hell cares. we should all carry guns and then the crime rate would drop like a stone. i also don’t think vick should have gone to jail either. the proper thing to sentence vick with would be a couple of million bucks to look after abused animals and have him do some of the work.

  2. Damn, it’s worse than that. He gets two years for the “crime” of availing himself of the constitutionally protected, G-d given Right and Obligation of bearing arms. Yeah, the guy was a doofus, screwing with the safety rules that come with responsible ownership and carry. No, he shouldn’t have carried against the Law. In that much there was “justice” of sorts.
    In the bigger picture, the laws in NYC that restrict ownership and carry are immoral, evil. Burress should be pardoned by the Governor.
    I link your post here:
    http://ifyouseekpeace.blogspot.com/2009/09/damian-penny-good-argument-against.html

  3. “Burress accidentally shot himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub”
    I don’t think that’s quite the response Mae West was expecting.

  4. Plaxico should have challenged his conviction on constitutional grounds. Especially after the Heller decision, people have the right to own firearms (which NYC law prevents). The law preventing plaxico from carrying is possibly unconstitutional, since individual firearms ownership is a right under US law post-Heller.
    Plaxico certainly has the money to fight a constitutional challenge.

  5. Carrying a loaded firearm into a crowded nightclub is indefensible. Period. What? He was cougar hunting?!
    http://definitions.uslegal.com/d/depraved-indifference/
    You want to hunt; fine. You want to carry for personal protection on the street or to protect your home and family; fine.
    You make millions and can’t afford a f**king holster?! …or a Firearms License?
    I’ll save my tears for real victims.

  6. This is a good argument against stupid mandatory minimum sentences, as well as against stupid mandatory maximum sentences. So what’s the alternative? Instead of legislatures deciding on sentences, in a (more or less) transparent way, with public discussion and majority voting, let’s have individual judges do whatever it is they feel like doing in each case, according to their personal whims? Because judges are so wise that once they know the facts of the case they will cause true justice to triumph — if we only let them.

  7. “Carrying a loaded firearm into a crowded nightclub is indefensible.”
    Er, carrying is “defensible.” Heh.
    But seriously… No-one would EVER have a reason to want to defend themselves or others indoors, right? Naw.
    I’ll give you this, Dan… Liquor and guns is a stupid mix, just like booze and cars. I’d ask for the death penalty for anyone over .08, but that’s just me.

  8. Indefensible is right Dan,
    “Defending” yourself in a crowded room with a firearm, even if sober, is likely to turn out badly.
    In this instance, he only hurt himself, but a few less squats and that bullet could have ended up in an innocent bystander.
    I would postulate that those who would extend the right to carry into crowded city establishments are not people who frequent them.
    It’s an environment where even a punch has a good chance of hitting someone other than the intended target. Statistically, here is no shortage of punches either.
    A firearm discharge, to conflate the limits of one constitutional amendment with another, is roughly equivalent to crying out “fire”. Everyone rushes the exits and people get injured even if it is some form of self defense.
    I’m surprised they didn’t have metal detectors at the door, although he might have been allowed to skip them.

  9. Ran; this discussion has morphed into a gun rights discussion instead of the original topic of ‘minimum sentencing’. Damian is suggesting the Judge acted inappropriately in giving the perp two years, for discharging a gun in a crowded nightclub, a crime to which he plea bargained his case.
    Why is it even getting media attention? Because the shit-for-brains perp is a sports celebrity!
    If this loser had been a Colombian coke peddler, I’m suggesting we’d never have heard about it…on the other hand the Colombian would have had more brains than to shove a loaded gun into his pants.

  10. Sorry, Dan, I had meant to say that I agree with Damian and that I think the Guv should simply pardon Plax. My bad.
    How’s that for “minimum sentencing?”

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