Minor drug offenders will no longer be subjected to mandatory minimum sentencing and while this is for federal crimes only, it has a potential indirect effect on the states, says retired Superior Court Judge Eugene Hyman of Santa Clara, California. As the Attorney General gives instructions for the various U.S. state attorneys, the U.S. state attorneys are not totally independent. While the Attorney General is telling U.S. attorneys to be more proactive in terms of filing, he cannot control sentencing in terms of controlling sentencing laws but he can indirectly by charging decisions.
If the federal government is taking a more liberal point of view with respect to crime, then there's hope that state legislatures and state prosecutors will similarly view things that way and make modifications on the state basis because states are suffering with respect to overcrowding, says Hyman.
Hyman views this as a great potential for introspection in looking at policies and making appropriate modifications. "We cannot prosecute our way out of crime and we cannot incarcerate our way out of crime," Hyman says.
The attorney general for the first time has acknowledged this, says Hyman and said the war on drugs hasn't worked. Just locking people up isn't effective in changing behavior and "as a result of what's been going on economically, we have to take a different viewpoint," Hyman says.
Honorable Judge Eugene Hyman has received numerous awards and recognition for his work with families and children and has appeared on numerous television news shows. For more information, visit www.judgehyman.com. He is also a featured commentator on The Family Law Channel and The Legal Broadcast Network.