Marsico Supports Legislation to Implement Mandatory Minimum Sentences
HARRISBURG – House Judiciary Committee Majority Chairman Ron Marsico (R-Dauphin) is pleased that legislation to impose mandatory minimum sentences passed the House this week.
“In order to protect our children, get drug dealers off the street and keep Pennsylvanians safe, we need to re-enact and amend our mandatory minimum sentencing statutes,” said Marsico. “Mandatory sentences ensure that perpetrators committing dangerous crimes will be held accountable for the crimes they commit. They prevent disparity and unduly lenient sentences. And, they guarantee that sentences are uniform throughout the system and ensure that individuals are punished accordingly, based on the crime committed.”
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently struck down some of Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentencing statutes because they did not require the Commonwealth to prove the elements triggering the sentence beyond a reasonable doubt.
House Bill 741
would re-enact mandatory minimum sentences for many of Pennsylvania’s most dangerous crimes, including violent offenses committed with a firearm, assaults against children or the elderly, and trafficking deadly drugs. For certain drug trafficking offenses, the bill adjusts the minimum mandatory sentence downward and raises the amount of drugs necessary to trigger the mandatory for some substances in order to be certain that drug traffickers, rather than drug addicts, are subject to the sentences.
“I have been fighting this fight for a very long time. Eighteen years ago, we fought to implement mandatory minimums because of horrendous incidents, such as the case of a 12-year-old girl who was pulled off a street and raped in an alley. Her assailant was sentenced to four to 15 years in jail, followed by 20 years of probation. The mandatory minimum would have been 10 years imprisonment,” said Marsico. “This is unacceptable and, quite frankly, poses a real danger to the Commonwealth.
“Another instance where the lack of mandatory minimums caused a dangerous situation was when someone was arrested with approximately 2,000 separate doses of heroin and was sentenced to only nine days to 23 months in jail. This is absurd,” said Marsico. “These are just a couple of very real cases that happened here, in Pennsylvania. It is ridiculous and we need to do something about it now.
“Convicted drug dealers are poisoning our constituents, many of them have guns and they need to go to jail for a long, long time. Criminals are profiting from our lack of mandatory sentencing and getting away with murder,” said Marsico. “This has to end. Public safety has always been a priority for me, and I will continue to push for this legislation to become law.”
House Bill 741 will now go to the Senate for further consideration.
Representative Ronald Marsico
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Media Contact: Autumn R. Southard, 717.652.3721