CAPPS Consensus newsletter

This issue of the Consensus newsletter explains SB 1109, the reasons CAPPS opposed it and habitual offender sentencing, beginning on Page 16.

This fall, our legislators pushed through a hot-button crime bill that delivered good sound bites at the expense of sound public policy. Senate Bill 1109 amended MCL 769.13 to require a 25-year mandatory minimum sentence for certain individuals convicted of a fourth felony. The mandatory minimum applies in cases where the fourth felony is one of 17 serious crimes and at least one of the three prior felonies is on a list of over 50 assaultive, drug, property or public order crimes.

SB 1109 was sold by prosecutors and the Attorney General’s office as a tool to prevent violent crimes by keeping “career violent offenders” behind bars longer. Legislators passed the new bill without regard for the failure of similar laws in other states or for Michigan’s own experience with ineffective, expensive and harsh mandatory minimums. In 2002, Republicans and Democrats united to repeal those laws because of the shockingly unfair sentences created by the mandatory minimum drug laws and the enormous cost to taxpayers.

Proponents of Michigan’s new 25-year mandatory minimum provided legislators with unsubstantiated and misleading claims about the need for SB 1109, who it will affect and how effective it will be in preventing crime. As a result, taxpayers will pay millions more to warehouse aging individuals who were never the “violent repeat offenders” claimed by bill proponents, just as the drug mandatory minimum drug laws never narrowly targeted top drug dealers.

Read>> CAPPS Consensus Fall 2012