The Senate has advanced a bill that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug cases. Ring of Fire’s Mike Papantonio and Peter Mougey discuss this issue.

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Transcript:

Mike Papantonio: You know, another story I think is important. The Senate has advanced a bill that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for minor drug cases. That’s a positive step forward after decades, really, of backwards drug policy in the U.S. Peter, I know that you’re probably gonna have the same reaction that I have to this story, okay? Here it is.

They’re throwing people in prison for 20 years. I mean, minimum sentences of 20 years. Some sentences, life to 25. Now, let’s talk about what the sentences are. They are felony drug sentencing, okay?

Peter Mougey: Right.

Mike Papantonio: Now, that means you’re selling drugs on a street corner or you’re a runner for a drug … Whatever it may be. You’re hit three times, two times, actually …

Peter Mougey: Life.

Mike Papantonio: Life, you could be looking at life. So, somebody in Congress said, really? We’re filling up our prisons. We don’t even have enough room for people in prisons now because of this.

Peter Mougey: We’re building new ones.

Mike Papantonio: Yeah. So, tell me what the changes would look like.

Peter Mougey: The changes are … It’s a comprehensive review of the whole criminal justice system, which is the big, sweeping change. But I think what you’re seeing is, quite frankly, it’s not far enough. So it’s … Let me see if I can get this right. The minimum sentence from 20 years to 15 for individuals who have a previous serious drug felony conviction or serious violence. So, that’s 20 to 15. And the next threshold that’s reduced is the minimum of a life sentence to 25 years for individuals who were previously convicted of two or more felony drug offenses. That’s the three strikes, you’re out. But that’s felony drug offenses. That could mean you have a possession over a certain amount is a felony …

Mike Papantonio: It’s not like its… no violence involved, zero violence, it’s just…

Peter Mougey: Three times, and we’re throwing those people in, throwing the key away.

Mike Papantonio: And what’s so interesting is the test is … They call it the Serious Drug Felony.

Peter Mougey: Right.

Mike Papantonio: That’s totally subjective. A judge can determine this is serious because you were four ounces above what you should have been, three times you’re looking at potential life sentence. Now interesting thing, here you are running the national case in opioids against these legalized drug cartel types. They’re not talking to them about going to prison, they’ve caused more addiction in this country than ever. Jeff Sessions is out here saying, “I don’t want any sentencing reform, I like the idea of life …”

Peter Mougey: He called it a grave era.

Mike Papantonio: A grave era to have the type of sentencing reduction we’re talking about. Now on the other side of it, you’ve got Cardinal, you’ve got McKesson, you’ve got Amerisource, you have Perdue that are nothing short of drug cartel criminals.

Peter Mougey: And to that end.

Mike Papantonio: And so there’s no sentencing there, who’s going to prison for them?

Peter Mougey: And I’ll take it a step further, right now the DEA and Sessions’ office, the Department of Justice, were trying to get in that litigation, the ARCOS database, which shows where the holes are, where all the diversion is. Sessions’ office is delaying the production of that data that’s the roadmap around the country about where the problems are, and he won’t produce it. Yet this is grave era.

Mike Papantonio: So in other words, the same little freak Jeff Sessions saying, “We don’t wanna change any sentencing, we want the kid that’s selling dope on the corner to spend life …

Peter Mougey: Let’s call it what it is. The white guys wearing suits and the eight figure salaries, walk free, no oversight. The guy on the street corner wearing a hoodie is going to jail for 30 years.

Mike Papantonio: Real quick, is there any question … Now I was a prosecutor, I don’t know if … You didn’t come up as a prosecutor.

Peter Mougey: I didn’t, I didn’t.

Mike Papantonio: I can tell you, the facts that I know, the facts you’ve let me be aware of because of you, because of the work you’ve done on this case, there’s zero question that I could have everyone of those people prosecuted and put in prison for life. But you know what, little Jeff Sessions, he ain’t interested in that. He’s interested in, as he puts it, this grave era of sentence reduction.

Mike Papantonio is an American attorney and television and radio talk show host. He is past president of The National Trial Lawyers, the most prestigious trial lawyer association in America; and is one of the few living attorneys inducted into the Trial Lawyer Hall of Fame. He hosts the international television show "America's Lawyer"; and co-hosts Ring of Fire Radio, a nationally syndicated weekly radio program, with Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. and Sam Seder.