Tags: mandatory minimum sentences | oklahoma | judge wallace coppedge

Another Case for Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Another Case for Mandatory Minimum Sentences
(Sebnem Ragiboglu/Dreamstime.com)

By with Michael R. Shannon
Monday, 02 April 2018 10:40 AM Current | Bio | Archive

The event is as predictable as the rain and just as cyclic. A few years after crime rates begin to decline leftists will start agitating for justice “reform” and demand that mandatory sentences be removed from the law books.

The U.S. is in the middle of a sentencing “reform” movement as you read this column.

The reformer’s reasoning is mandatory sentences — where all the guilty receive a uniform, identical sentence — are unfair because there is no allowance for “discretion” on the part of judges. In reading coverage of this “reform” movement I have yet to read a story where a reporter investigates why we have mandatory sentences in the first place. Is it because putting anyone in jail for any length of time is unfair? Did heartless judges conspire to inflict needless punishment on the guilty? Were entire legislatures bought by unscrupulous sadists who just like seeing people rot in prison?

That’s why as a public service today I will share a story from Marshall County, Oklahoma, (located in the southern part of the state, near Ardmore) that shows why voters demanded mandatory sentencing and why removing sure, equal punishment for crimes is an injustice to the law-abiding public.

District Judge Wallace Coppedge approved a plea bargain that, according to The Oklahoman, allowed “a church camp rapist walk away with only probation.” And that’s not the only time let ‘em loose Coppedge allowed a sex offender to dodge any jail time. The paper also found “Coppedge has agreed seven other times to send sex offenders home without prison sentences.”

In this instance Coppedge accepted a plea from Benjamin L. Petty, a Falls Creek church camp cook, acknowledging guilt for raping and sodomizing a 13­year­old girl in 2016. He was sentenced to 15 years of probation.

Overly lenient, barely slap-on-the-wrist sentences from judges more interested in keeping the court docket clear than punishing the guilty are why voters demand mandatory sentences.

This plea bargain was such an outrage that District Attorney Craig Ladd fired Asst. DA David Pyle after he learned of the agreement. He told The Oklahoman, “I want it to be known that I strongly disagree with the lenient manner in which the Benjamin Petty case in Murray County was prosecuted in many respects. Had I been kept apprised, I certainly would have had authority to stop the offer from being extended and would have done so.”

Oklahoma residents disagree, too, and 100,000 have signed a petition demanding Judge Coppedge be removed from the bench.

Situations like this are exactly why mandatory sentence laws are on the books and why removing mandatory sentences is usually a mistake.

Michael Reagan, the eldest son of President Reagan, is a Newsmax TV analyst. A syndicated columnist and author, he chairs The Reagan Legacy Foundation. Michael is an in-demand speaker with Premiere speaker’s bureau. Read more reports from Michael Reagan — Go Here Now.

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

© Mike Reagan

   
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The event is as predictable as the rain and just as cyclic. A few years after crime rates begin to decline leftists will start agitating for justice “reform” and demand that mandatory sentences be removed from the law books.
mandatory minimum sentences, oklahoma, judge wallace coppedge
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2018-40-02
Monday, 02 April 2018 10:40 AM
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