'This Week' Panel: Law and Order

Pierre Thomas, Rep. Keith Ellison, Bill Kristol, David Plouffe and Carly Fiorina on 'This Week.'
5:44 | 08/18/13

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Transcript for 'This Week' Panel: Law and Order
the potential of overturning it. Back on the roundtable, pierre thomas here as well. Thanks for the great interview. I want to start with the congressman, you heard the argument there, stop and frisk is workind saving lives. I don't necessarily believe it's because of stop and frisk. We have demographic changes that would account for crime reduction. The reality is that police need the good will of the citizens to be more effective in law enforcement, and if this program is breeding resentment and distrust, it hurts the goal of law enforcement. And so I hope he -- despite what he might say to the public, digs in and figures out if it's helping, can we do better, and fit more with the fourth amendment and the requirements of the constitution? I don't think it's smart to ignore. Before this rule, bill, the police department had cut back, way back on stop and frisk. Which worries me. In 1990, there were 2,200 murders in new york. Last year there were 414. We're not talking about a trivial accomplishment. The giuliani/bloomberg radically cutting crime beyond what they thought was possible, economic revitalization, and saving a lot of lives. It's typical of liberal judges and policy-makers, they go after one of the most successful policies in place in a city in tough circumstances, one of the most successful organizations, the new york city police department, and decide to do it away with it now. Anywhere for the white house to weigh in on the debate? Probably not. It's an issue for new york city. Eric holder talked about sentencing things which I think we'll get to. But the officials, the police deserve great credit for the reduction in crime. The judge has spoken. There will be adjustments. How many of the reduction is due to stop and frisk versus the other great techniques. Clearly there's going to be adjustments going forward given the judge's ruling. This is an example to me, and sometimes I think our debate is actually over-polarized. I think there's truth on both sides. On the one hand, the program is working, and on the other hand, there's no question that there's abuse, and no question that resentment is being bred. I don't agree that it's unconstitutional, but I do agree there should be examination how to apply the program in a way that's more community-friendly. What they called for is not all that intrusive, a monitor, training, yes, the cameras in limited precincts. You brought up the mandatory minimums, big announcement, have fewer prosecutions leading to mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes. They generate unfairly long sentences, they breed disrespect for the system. When applied indiscriminately, they do not serve public safety. They have had a destabilizing effect on particular communities, largely poor and of color. And if applied inappropriately, they are counterproductive. You pointed out, pierre, you were there at the speech, that we've had sum ever such a huge overcrowding largely because of non-violent drug offenders. There's an 800% increase in the number of people in prison since 1980. The attorney general said that's sustainable. 80 million a year it costs. He said you must look at fairness in the system. One of the facts he pointed out that really struck me is that african-american males will spend 20% longer in jail on a sentence compared to the white counterparts convicted of the same crime. He said that needs to be fixed. The other issue he wanted to look at is non-violent offenders. May too many people spending way too much time in prison with mandatory minimums when they could be put in for lesser times. And republicans and democrats coming together, again, rand paul, one of the chief republicans saying the attorney general is basically rights. You know what, last term we reduced that 100-1 cocaine disparity down to 18-1. That's progress. Republicans and democrats were part of it. There's room to improve here. Mandatory minimums takes away the judges ability to give them the sentence individually. I was a criminal justice lawyer for 16 years, and they do not advance justice. Let the judge figure out what kind of sentence is appropriate in the particular case. Common ground. Mandatory minimums are the result of a law passed by congress. The attorney general thinks they should be changed. He has a big staff at the justice department. In the old days, if someone in the executive branch through the should be a new law, they would submit a law. Maybe there should be support in congress for altering them for federal crimes, but where is the legislation? I think folks in congress areon this. You see rick perry experimenting in terms of reduction of sentences. I do think this is one of the areas where you see maybe not universal, but broad bipartisan consensus. But rick perry got the state legislature to change certain laws. If the obama administration ever submitted a legislative proposal. We're working on. They did? There is bipartisan sup the question is where has he been all this time? He's about out the door. If this is so important with bipartisan support, why didn't he do it earlier? With the administration, there's a lot of talk, a lot of speeches and not a lot of action. I wish we had more time. Thank you all forn. WE'LL BE RIGHT BACK.1 Te message Test Text1 underline

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