Service & Results.

nyc criminal lawyers over 30 years of experienceWe Know How To Win Cases

Spodek Law Group handles tough cases
nationwide, that demand excellence.

Get Free Consultation

Faced 5+ Years in Prison

People Vs Joseph Amico

Covered by NYDaily News. Las Vegas man accused of threatening a prominent attorney and making vile remarks.

Faced 10+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Anna Sorokin

Covered by New York Times, and other outlets. Fake heiress accused of conning the city’s wealthy, and has an HBO special being made about her.

Faced 3+ Years in Prison

People Vs. Genevieve Sabourin

Accused of stalking Alec Baldwin. The case garnered nationwide attention, with USAToday, NYPost, and other media outlets following it closely.

Faced Potential Charges

Ghislaine Maxwell Juror

Juror who prompted calls for new Ghislaine Maxwell trial turns to lawyer who defended Anna Sorokin.

Why Choose Us

Clients can use our portal to track the status of their case, stay in touch with us, upload documents, and more.

Regardless of the type of situation you're facing, our attorneys are here to help you get quality representation.

We can setup consultations in person, over Zoom, or over the phone to help you. Bottom line, we're here to help you win your case.

Law in the Media

View All

Meet Todd Spodek


The Spodek Law Group understands how delicate high-profile cases can be, and has a strong track record of getting positive outcomes. Our lawyers service a clientele that is nationwide. With offices in both LA and NYC, and cases all across the country - Spodek Law Group is a top tier law firm.

Todd Spodek is a second generation attorney with immense experience. He has many years of experience handling 100’s of tough and hard to win trials. He’s been featured on major news outlets, such as New York Post, Newsweek, Fox 5 New York, South China Morning Post, Insider.com, and many others.

In 2022, Netflix released a series about one of Todd’s clients: Anna Delvey/Anna Sorokin.

Why Clients Choose Spodek Law Group

The reason is simple: clients want white glove service, and lawyers who can win. Every single client who works with the Spodek Law Group is aware that the attorney they hire could drastically change the outcome of their case. Hiring the Spodek Law Group means you’re taking your future seriously. Our lawyers handle cases nationwide, ranging from NYC to LA. Our philosophy is fair and simple: our nyc criminal lawyers only take on clients who we know will benefit from our services.

We’re selective about the clients we work with, and only take on cases we know align with our experience – and where we can make a difference. This is different from other law firms who are not invested in your success nor care about your outcome.

If you have a legal issue, call us for a consultation.
We are available 24/7, to help you with any – and all, challenges you face.

The Shocking Truth About Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences

By Spodek Law Group | October 19, 2023
(Last Updated On: October 20, 2023)

Last Updated on: 20th October 2023, 02:19 pm


The Shocking Truth About Federal Mandatory Minimum Sentences

Mandatory minimum sentences are laws that require judges to hand down a minimum prison term when convicting for certain federal and state crimes. This takes away judicial discretion in sentencing. Judges have to deliver the minimum sentence, even if they think it doesn’t fit the crime.

These laws started in the 1970s and 80s during the “tough on crime” and “war on drugs” movements. The goal was to create harsh punishments as a deterrent. But critics argue they’ve done more harm than good. Let’s take a closer look at the controversies surrounding federal mandatory minimums.

A Brief History

The first federal mandatory minimums were added in the Boggs Act of 1952. This set mandatory sentences for drug crimes. Things ramped up in the 1980s with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. This law created mandatory minimums of 5, 10, 20 years, life in prison, and death for various drug charges. It also introduced the infamous 100-to-1 crack versus powder cocaine sentencing disparity.

Later laws like the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 (the “Crime Bill”) and the Armed Career Criminal Act added more mandatory minimums. These got tied to things like gun possession, sex offenses, domestic violence, and three-strike repeat offenses. Soon judges faced all kinds of mandatory minimums at the federal level.

The Main Controversies

Critics say mandatory minimums cause several problems in the justice system. Here’s an overview of the main controversies surrounding these laws:

They Remove Judicial Discretion

Judges have no flexibility in sentencing if there’s a mandatory minimum. They can’t give a shorter sentence, even if they think it would be more fair. This removes case-by-case judgment from the courts.

For example, let’s say someone gets caught carrying a gun while selling a small amount of drugs. There’s a 5-year federal mandatory minimum for the gun, and maybe a 1 or 2 year minimum for the drugs. The judge can’t give a sentence less than 5 years, even if they think a 1 or 2 year sentence would have been more appropriate.

They Disproportionately Impact Minorities

Because mandatory minimums take away judicial discretion, they amplify racial disparities in sentencing. Minorities face longer average prison terms compared to white people convicted of similar crimes. This exacerbates existing inequities in the justice system.

For example, the harsh crack cocaine sentences have disproportionately affected African Americans. In 2010, Congress passed the Fair Sentencing Act to reduce this disparity. But more action is still needed to create fair, unbiased sentencing.

They Can Lead to Excessive Punishments

Critics say mandatory minimums lead to penalties that are too harsh and don’t fit the crime. They point to cases of nonviolent drug offenders getting 20 years or life without parole. Defendants can face decades in prison for things like:

  • Having a small amount of drugs for personal use
  • Acting as a lookout or driver for a drug deal
  • Possessing an illegal gun while committing a minor drug offense

These punishments often seem extreme compared to the offenses. Reform advocates argue judges should have more leeway to issue fair sentences.

They Haven’t Reduced Crime

A main goal of mandatory minimums was deterring crime. But the evidence shows they haven’t worked. One study by the Pew Center found states without mandatory minimums have similar crime rates as those with them.

For deterrence to work, criminals have to be aware of sentencing laws when committing crimes. But there’s little proof this logic actually changes behavior. So harsh mandatory minimums don’t seem to reduce crime.

Arguments in Favor

Supporters of mandatory minimums make some counterarguments. Here are the main points they raise:

They Promote Consistency

Mandatory minimums standardize sentences, so punishment doesn’t vary wildly between judges. This promotes uniformity in the justice system.

They Give Prosecutors Leverage

Prosecutors can use mandatory minimums as leverage to get defendants to plead guilty. This gives them another tool for resolving cases without a trial.

They Incapacitate Dangerous Offenders

While critics focus on nonviolent offenders, mandatory minimums also incapacitate violent criminals, like armed career criminals. Keeping these people locked up protects public safety.

Judges Can’t Be Trusted

Some argue judges can’t be trusted with too much discretion. Mandatory minimums limit their power to give out weak sentences that could endanger the public.

Reform Efforts and Changes

In recent years, both parties have warmed up to reforming federal mandatory minimums. There’s been some progress, but broader change is still needed. Here are some developments:

  • The 2010 Fair Sentencing Act reduced the crack/powder sentencing disparity.
  • The 2015 Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act would have cut some federal mandatory minimums. It had bipartisan support but didn’t pass.
  • The 2018 First Step Act made the Fair Sentencing Act retroactive. This allowed around 2,600 inmates to petition for reduced crack sentences.
  • The 2021 EQUAL Act would completely eliminate the crack/powder disparity. It passed the House but awaits Senate approval.

These measures show growing momentum for reform. But there’s still more work to be done to scale back excessive mandatory minimums.

Looking to the Future

The controversies around federal mandatory minimum sentences won’t disappear anytime soon. But the recent reforms offer some hope.

To build a fairer justice system, Congress needs to grant judges more discretion in sentencing. Mandatory minimums for nonviolent drug and gun offenses should be eased. And sentencing laws should be applied equitably, regardless of race, going forward.

Change won’t happen overnight. But the shocking truth about mandatory minimums is hopefully inspiring leaders to enact smarter, more humane policies. The cost of inaction is too high, in both lives and justice lost.


Free Consultation


I was searching for a law firm with some power to help me deal with a warrant in New York . After 6 days I decided to go with Spodek Law Group. It helped that This law firm is well respected by not only the top law firms in New York , but the DA , Judge as well. I...

~Fonder Brandon

5 Stars
It was my good fortune to retain Spodek Law Group for representation for my legal needs. From the beginning, communication was prompt and thorough. Todd, Kenneth and Alex were the first people I worked with and they all made me, and my company Qumana skincare feel comfortable and confident that the team was going to work hard for me. Everything...

~A G

5 Stars
After meeting with several law firms, I chose the Spodek Law Group not only for their professionalism and experience, but for the personal attention given to me right from the initial consultation. It is important to recognize how crucial having the right legal team is when faced with potentially life altering events that impact families and the lives of loved...

~George Cherubini

Spodek Law Group

White Glove Service

We Provide Superior Service, Excellent Results, At A Level Superior To Other Criminal Defense Law Firms. Regardless Of Where Your Case Is, Nationwide, We Can Help You.
View More

Request Free Consultation

Please fill out the form below to receive a free consultation, we will respond to
your inquiry within 24-hours guaranteed.


85 Broad St 30th Floor, New York, NY 10004


get directions

Los Angeles

611 S Catalina St Suite 222, Los Angeles, CA 90005


get directions


35-37 36th St, 2nd Floor Astoria, NY 11106


get directions


195 Montague St., 14th Floor, Brooklyn, NY 11201


get directions
Call Now!