My name is Judge Jeffrey K. Sprecher, and I am a Court of Common Pleas Judge in Reading, Pa. Welcome to my newly created blog!
Periodically I will be writing about controversial topics on which I believe I am well-versed through my education and experience. I invite you to comment and offer your opinion. I anticipate extensive discussion and debate. This is how we learn; by hearing both sides of the issue and then discussing the subject zealously but also professionally. We must be mindful that topics generally result in people expressing different opinions. If we become disrespectful we will lose sight of the issues at hand. Keep an open mind; agree, disagree, enjoy and learn.
As a trial judge now in my 22nd year on the bench, I believe that the other two branches of government have committed a constitutional trespass with regard to usurping sentencing discretion from the judiciary. I express the reasons for this conclusion in my book, Justice or Just This? A Constitutional Trespass. The book is self-published; I wrote for the general public, so it is an easy read.
After reading this book, it will be up to you to convince the lawmakers to return sentencing discretion to the judiciary, where it belongs. Although our lawmakers admit their “tough on crime” mandatory sentences are wrong, they refuse to correct their mistake because you will vote them out of office for being soft on crime. That’s their reason for allowing this monster to continue to fill our prisons and bankrupt our government. However, don’t take my word for it – ask your legislator yourself. You must learn the facts and then proceed the way your conscience guides you…
There were 11 PA state prisons built from 1820 to 1980. In 1982 the PA Commission on Sentencing was created; 16 prisons were built in only the 14 years thereafter.