“During my time as an assistant U.S. attorney in Nevada and a deputy district attorney in Las Vegas, I prosecuted thousands of cases — white collar crime, fraud and violent crime. With drug offenses though, the length of the sentences left me troubled. Mandatory minimum sentencing was approved by Congress in the 1980s and ’90s, ramping up its approach to the War on Drugs. These sentences meant that the judge had no discretion in a drug defendant’s case, and I watched as many individuals were sent away for decades for trafficking small amounts of drugs. They should have gone to prison — but 15 years for a small amount of heroin? That’s too much.
“Equally troubling to me is that prosecutors use these minimum mandatory drug laws, which were meant to be used against illicit drug dealers, against medical doctors. While overprescribing medication is a serious problem, it is not a problem that will be fixed by sending doctors to prison for a minimum of 10 years.”