Letters to the Editor
... input from forum participants

West Wing episode features amendment limiting judicial discretion in sentencing

December 8th

Dear Friends:

You might want to make a note of this upcoming episode of the West Wing (and advertise it to whoever else you think might be interested):

"On January 14 The West Wing episode will show President Bartlett, just before the State of the Union Address, deciding whether to veto a popular piece of legislation because it contains an amendment limiting judicial discretion in sentencing (he decries the "War on Judges" being waged by some in Congress). As a signal of the seriousness of his purpose in opposing long mandatory sentences, he also considers commuting the sentences of a number of drug offenders (as recommended by the Justice Department)."

(That is a paragraph that was approved for circulation by the producer of the show.)

You could probably also say that the episode includes a scene in which the President talks to the President of FAMM, whose sister is serving a mandatory minimum drug sentence. (Does that sound familiar?) It also includes a scene in which the President discusses the Justice Department's clemency recommendations with the Pardon Attorney, whose name is Portia Colgrove.

The plot is really pretty terrific, though there are a couple of terminology and minor glitches.... The important thing is that President Bartlett rises to the occasion in typically courageous and principled fashion.

(I had a chance to chat with Martin Sheen and most of the other cast members when I was on the set last week -- they are actually very smart peple and interested in the substance of what they are doing.... And I found the shooting painfully repetitive and was glad I only had a day to spend there . . . )

Margy Margaret Love
647 East Capitol Street, SE
Washington, D.C. 20003
202 / 547-0453
202 / 547-6520 (fax)
202 / 236-0484 (cell)


Eric E. Sterling
President, Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
301 / 589-6020
301 / 589-5056 (fax)
8730 Georgia Avenue, Suite 400
Silver Spring, MD 20910-3649

"Humanitarianism consists in never sacrificing a human being to a purpose." -- Albert Schweitzer, M.D. (1875-1965), 1923, Nobel Peace Prize laureate, 1952


Nora Callahan
Executive Director November Coalition
795 South Cedar Colville, WA 99114
(509) 684-1550 (voice and fax)

Working to end drug war injustice, the November Coalition is a non profit 501 (c) 3 public charity founded in 1997. Your gifts and donations are tax deductible.

Amend California 3 Strikes -- "The most damaging phrase in language is: 'It's always been done that way.'"