Idaho House Bill 406 is one of the most grossly unjust and terribly drafted pieces of legislation I’ve ever seen. It will classify individuals as drug traffickers based on simple possession of even tiny trace amounts of a drug and send them to prison for decades with no possibility of early release.
There is already a gross imbalance favoring state power over the rights of individuals who are charged with crimes, and bills like this only tilt things further in favor of the state.
You can read a detailed analysis of House Bill 406 HERE.
Injustice prevails in the American “justice” system largely because prosecutors and their minions craft laws capable of totally destroying the lives of anyone they target. Instead of putting in the work to actually prove intent to distribute, prosecutors just write a law to redefine simple possession as “trafficking.”
Instead of making the case that possessing trace amounts of a drug actually merits 20 years of incarceration, prosecutors will write a law that makes the sentence automatic and bars judges from intervening — no matter how egregious a miscarriage of justice a given sentence might be.
Just look at how far House Bill 406 goes to prevent conscientious judges from taking action to protect defendants from excessive sentencing.
“Adjudication of guilt or the imposition or execution of sentence shall not be suspended, deferred, or withheld, nor shall such person be eligible for parole prior to serving the mandatory minimum fixed term of imprisonment prescribed in this section. Further, the court shall not retain jurisdiction.”
Perhaps the worst part is that none of this is accidental or the inadvertent byproduct of some noble ambition. It is the intentional automation of injustice by a cynical cabal of highly paid government attorneys who covet the power to destroy people’s lives based on nothing more than flimsy assertions and circumstantial evidence.
The state of Idaho (and the whole country) desperately needs comprehensive criminal justice reform, and this starts with eliminating mandatory minimum sentences, decriminalizing victimless crimes across the board, focusing on restorative justice for those crimes with an actual victim, and requiring prosecutors to prove both the facts of the case and criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt.
This Op-Ed was submitted by Parrish Miller and originally published on ParrishMiller.com. Op-Eds do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of those at the Idaho Dispatch.
Tags: 2024 Idaho Legislature, Drugs, Fentanyl, HO406, House Bill 406, Idaho Chiefs of Police Association, Idaho Freedom Foundation Index, Mandatory Minimum Sentencing, Parrish Miller, Tracy Basterrechea