There is an old saying, “If you speak the truth, have a foot in the stirrup”. British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has raised the ire of both Law Enforcement and politicians when he vetoed mandatory minimum sentences for possession of a knife.
From Guardian UK:
“Clegg said: “This is just about carrying a knife, not committing an offence with it. There may well be cases where a judge should imprison someone for carrying a knife. What I am saying is that I don’t think everyone should be chucked into prison regardless of the circumstances, with no discretion, no exceptions and no extenuating circumstances. Coming up to an election time, it is not the easiest thing to be accused of being soft on knife crime. I am not being soft. Let us be tough on knife crime, but let us be smart about it.”
I am not a fan of mandatory minimum sentences. They are an electioneering ploy that binds the hands of justice. Clegg also wrote an OpEd piece explaining his position in greater detail.
“We also need to give judges the flexibility to use their expertise and judgment, based on the facts of each case. It is often entirely appropriate for judges to give a prison sentence for carrying a knife. While minimum sentencing might sound attractive in media headlines there is a serious risk it could undermine the role of the judges, who are best placed to decide on sentencing. “
It is refreshing to know that common sense is not completely dead in England. The Honorable Mr. Clegg deserves kudos for his higher cognitive function.