On February 2, 2012, Senator Grassley (R-Iowa) successfully added a new mandatory minimum sentence to S.1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011. The Senate Judiciary Committee reported S. 1925 with the amendment out of Committee and to the full Senate for consideration. Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) and Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) voted against the bill. Sen. Sessions abstained from voting.
Grassley’s amendment would create a new five-year mandatory minimum for aggravated sexual assault. Sex crimes are among the most heinous acts perpetrated in our society. Convicted offenders deserve to punished – and, depending on the nature and circumstances of the crime and offender – punished harshly.
But, as with all mandatory minimums, these one-size-fits-all penalties do not allow for individual consideration of unique circumstances and unique offenders. Beyond this basic principle, Sen. Grassley failed to provide clear evidence that the current sentence (which is two times the proposed mandatory minimum) is insufficient. To read the letter FAMM sent to the Committee prior to the vote, please click here.