Iowa U.S. Judge Says Meth Guidelines Too Harsh, Cuts Sentence


An Iowa federal judge declared opposition to federal sentencing guidelines for methamphetamine dealers, reports the Des Moines Register. U.S. District Judge Mark Bennett wrote on Friday that he considers them to be “fundamentally flawed,” not based on empirical data, and too harsh for lower-level drug figures.

Bennett, declaring he has a “fundamental policy disagreement” with the methamphetamine portion of advisory guidelines that judges are supposed to consider in sentencing criminals — cut the sentence of Sioux City drug dealer Willie Hayes to six years and three months from a possible 15 years, eight months. Bennett, a longtime critic of mandatory minimum sentences, said the meth guidelines lack the depth of other portions of the sentencing blueprint and appear to be more influenced by politics than by science. Methamphetamine dealers have faced much harsher sentences than have dealers of marijuana, cocaine or heroin and run into mandatory minimum sentences for handling a much lower quantity of drug.

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