Photo by: Susan Walsh

"I think at the federal level and at the state level, get rid of these mandatory minimum sentences. Let judges act as judges and make up their own mind what should be done. The idea that we protect society by one size fits all, or the idea that we can do this kind of symbolism to make us safer — it just does not work in the real world," said Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy of Vermont, the senior Democrat in the Senate. (Associated Press)