Trump’s plan to seek death penalty for drug traffickers may not be effective

Mar 20, 2018, 4:46 AM
President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as he walks on the South Law...

President Donald Trump, accompanied by first lady Melania Trump, waves as he walks on the South Lawn of the White House, Monday, March 19, 2018, in Washington, on his return from a trip to New Hampshire. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

PHOENIX — President Donald Trump recently introduced a plan to combat the opioid crisis by seeking the death penalty for some drug traffickers, but it may not be as effective as he would hope.

“Although this sounds like a good idea, in practicality I don’t think it’s going to change much because the federal government doesn’t implement the death penalty very often,” said KTAR News legal expert Monica Lindstrom.

“In fact, as of right now, there are only 62 inmates on death row in the federal system,” she said, adding that there are no large-scale drug traffickers on death row.

She also noted that under federal law, large-scale drug trafficking was already an offense that was punishable by the death penalty.

Trump was proposing making sentencing reforms so that certain opioid cases, including Fentanyl-related ones, are considered for the death penalty as well.

Trump unveiled his opioid plan Monday in New Hampshire, a state that has been hit hard by the opioid crisis.

“Whether you are a dealer or doctor, or trafficker, or a manufacturer – if you break the law and illegally pedaled these deadly poisons, we will find you, we will arrest you, and we will hold you accountable,” Trump said.

The president’s plan also included passing legislation to reduce the amount of drugs needed to trigger mandatory minimum sentences for traffickers who knowingly distribute certain illicit opioids.

He also wanted to expand Medicaid so that recipients of the federal health program can get more treatment for drug addiction and to implement federal funding for ads to educate children about the dangers of opioid addiction.

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Trump’s plan to seek death penalty for drug traffickers may not be effective