Toohil Supports Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Bill
HARRISBURG – Rep. Tarah Toohil (R-Luzerne) today joined a majority of her House colleagues in passing legislation to restore mandatory minimum sentences for drug and gun offenses in Pennsylvania.
“We need mandatory minimum sentences to ensure defendants receive an appropriate penalty for the serious nature of their crimes,” said Toohil. “We need to remember that this legislation is also about the victims, who must be assured that criminals get the sentences they deserve.”
House Bill 741
would allow for mandatory minimum sentences for drug traffickers, trafficking drugs to minors and for selling drugs in drug-free school zones. Other crimes effected include offenses committed with firearms, on public transportation, against the elderly or infants, or while impersonating a law enforcement officer.
“Under this legislation, many criminals who are currently receiving probationary sentences will be going to prison for a long time,” added Toohil.
The bill addresses constitutional issues with Pennsylvania’s mandatory minimum sentencing laws cited by the State Supreme Court in 2015.
The high court struck down most mandatory minimum sentences in the state claiming they violated a defendant’s procedural right to have a jury determine any fact affecting the minimum or maximum term of incarceration.
The legislation addresses this by allowing prosecutors to present evidence to jurors to decide whether a mandatory sentencing trigger had been proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
The bill now moves to the Senate for consideration.
Representative Tarah Toohil
Pennsylvania House of Representatives
Contact: Rep. Toohil’s Office
RepToohil.com / Facebook.com/RepToohil