For one, guilty acquittals are unheard of enough that they often make the news when they occur.
Criminals getting let free before minimums existed were also uncommon enough that they made the news. If fact, I dare say they were less common.
Second, juries don't sentence and discussion of sentencing is often not permitted in argument so I doubt that the jury would make an acquittal on a basis of sentencing.
Yeah, that's why it's a kind of a funny argument. I mean, technically they CAN know the minimum (it's all public information), but you wouldn't think it would come up very often. I have a judge saying it does, though. And it makes some sense, because people in the jury can discuss the sentence even if the attorneys don't.
EDIT: I actually just reread the card from my backfiles, and it talks about judges AND juries acquitting when there were minimums. Judges know the minimums well, so that makes sense. So at least for bench trials, this harm is totally legit.
EDIT 2: I actually just read the report that the card I read was from, and it makes things a little clearer. According to the report, even in Jury trials, Judges often avoid the minimums by a) encouraging the jury to acquit even if the person did commit a crime, and b) telling the jury what the minimums are (apparently, this is a common practice).
Third, even if your claim is 100% valid, removal of MMs could still result in biased guilt determinants/sentencing, as juries would, according to your logic, convict at a higher frequency but judges could still sentence with disparity.
Right, but it's a good thing to sentence with disparity, and a bad thing to just not convict at all.
Fourth, nullification (which is essentially a guilty acquittal done because a conviction would be unjust) is a legitimate aspect of our court system.
I agree. However, nullification ON THE BASIS OF AN UNJUST MINIMUM is not a good form of nullification. Nullification is only good if the jury thinks the conviction is unjust based on the fact that it goes against the spirit of the law, or because the law is unjust to begin with. That's not the issue here. We're talking about nullifying just because it's either give them a sentence they don't deserve or give them nothing at all.
Fifth, the goal of the justice system isn't to get convictions, it's to achieve justice; justice doesn't always mean punishment for breaking the law, because laws can be unjust and so can punishment.
Right, but we'll still achieve more justice without minimums, because that way the options aren't 1) let the thug go free or 2) give him a sentence he doesn't deserve. Instead, you can give him a sentence he DOES deserve, which achieves justice better.
_________________Check out my new website!
"Never quote yourself on internet forums" - Gabriel Blacklock, 2014