Mandy Martinson is serving a 15-year mandatory minimum sentence for a first-time, nonviolent drug offense. Mandatory minimum laws set by Congress in the 1980s required Mandy’s judge to give her this sentence. The judge could not consider the fact that Mandy was an addict and not selling her boyfriend’s drugs, needed drug treatment, and did not use a gun or violence against others. Watch Mandy’s story and learn why mandatory minimum laws must be changed:
Take action today and tell Congress:
No more mandatory minimum sentences for people like Mandy Martinson!
FAMM’s Molly Gill and former federal prosecutor Tim Heaphy explain how Mandy received a 15-year sentence and the problems with conspiracy laws:
Mandy’s case shows three problems that Congress needs to fix to reform mandatory minimum sentencing laws:
1. Conspiracy: People should be held accountable for what they knowingly and intentionally did and the role they played, not for the conduct of all the other people in the conspiracy. Because Mandy was convicted of conspiracy, she got a mandatory minimum sentence for all the drugs her boyfriend sold and the two guns he brought into her house, even though she never sold drugs or used the guns.
2. Addiction: People who are involved with drugs due to addiction, mental illness, combat-related trauma, or because they are being threatened with violence should not receive mandatory minimum sentences. Judges should have flexibility to give these people less time in prison and more access to the treatment and services they need to become whole and stay crime-free.
3. Gun Possession vs. Use: Harsh mandatory minimum sentences should be reserved for people who use guns against others, not those who merely own or possess them. People do not get rid of their guns when they get involved with drugs and should not be punished more harshly simply because they or a codefendant owned one.
Read about Mandy in the media:
Globe Gazette: Call for Sentencing Reform Features Mason City Woman’s Story
The Des Moines Register: Will Sentencing Reform Pass the Mandy Martinson test?
The Des Moines Register: Widower’s Lament: Change Sentencing Laws
Written by Mandy’s father, Bill Martinson.
The Des Moines Register: Judges Need More Discretion on Sentences
Written by Mandy’s mother, Cindy Martinson. Sadly, Mandy’s mother passed away from cancer during Mandy’s 9th year in prison.
The Des Moines Register: Bishops Call on Grassley to Reform Sentencing
Globe Gazette: Congress Looks to Relax Mandatory Prison Terms
You’ve made it this far, don’t stop here!