"I strongly disagree with that decision," the judge says firmly from the bench.
It is not the first time he has felt this way. Bennett says 80% of the mandatory sentences he hands down are unjust -- but that he is handcuffed by the law, which leaves no room for judicial discretion to consider a sentence based on individual circumstances of the defendant.
Too often, Bennett says, low-level nonviolent drug addicts dealing to feed their habit end up being sentenced like drug kingpins.
Bennett says if he had the power, he would jail Rice for perhaps a year, or 18 months. Across the street in a state courthouse, she would have been put on probation, he says.
"I think it's a miscarriage of justice," Bennett says. "But you know people are entitled to their own sense of what justice is."
In the courtroom, the judge lowers his head and his voice.
"With the greatest of reluctance, I sentence you to 60 months," he says.
Tuesday, June 06, 2017
Judges are speaking out
More and more, judges are starting to speak out against the real problems in our criminal justice system. This time it's Judge Mark Bennett saying that min-mans are the worst injustice he has seen while on the bench. From CNN: