HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
|Long Title:||AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO DRUG OFFENSES.|
|Number of Committee Members:||8|
|Date of Report:||06/02/2005|
|Committee Vote:||Favorable:||On Its Merits:||Unfavorable:|
Purpose of the Bill : The purpose of this Bill is to repeal the mandatory minimum sentences in Title 16 relating to violations of our drug laws. It provides the judiciary the discretion to pronounce sentences appropriate to the cases and individuals before them. Likewise, Delaware’s sentencing guidelines and Truth-in-Sentencing Law will remain in force, helping to guide judges in their decisions and ensuring offenders’ completion of their sentences.
Committee Findings: Some of the supporters of HB 181 are Standup for What's Right and Just (SURJ), The Delaware State Bar Association, The American Bar Association, The Federal Courts Study Committee and The Judicial Conference of the United States. A few reasons they support the bill are:
- They believe that judicial discretion should be returned to the very competent judges.
- They assert that mandatory minimum sentences support "assembly line justice."
- The victims and suspects of the case deserve and appreciate trial hearings.
- Causes prosecutors to become better, more efficient prosecutors.
- Eliminating mandatory minimum sentencing will not make drug sentences go away.
Some of the opponents of HB 181 are the Attorney General's Office, Criminal Justice Council, Chief of Police Council, and Delaware Sentencing Accountability Commission (SENTAC). A few reasons they opposed the bill are:
- HB 181 is a solution in search of a problem.
- No member of any branch of government should be given unfettered discretion.
- Before additional discretion is given, it should be considered to whom the discretion will be applied to.
- Most crimes are directly or indirectly related to the possession, sale, or usage of drugs.
- Mandatory minimum sentencing works and is effective.