Mandatory Minimum Sentences Waste Money, Have ‘Unjust Results,’Says Michigan Federal Judge

Post Date: September 23, 2013

Judge Robert Holmes Bell

Federal Judge Robert Holmes Bell

( — U.S. District Court Judge Robert Holmes Bell weighed into the congressional debate over mandatory minimum sentencing this week with a letter calling the practice a waste of tax dollars that produces “unjust results.”

Bell, a federal district court judge in Grand Rapids, spoke-up on behalf of judges across the county as chairman of the criminal law committee of the U.S. Judicial Conference, a body of senior circuit judges.

Bell’s letter was sent to the Senate Judiciary Committee, where Sens. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt) and Rand Paul (R-Ky) are co-sponsoring bipartisan legislation called the Justice Safety Valve Act that would allow judges greater flexibility to impose lighter sentences in some federal crimes.  Read more