It is undeniable that Minnesota and federal laws are meant to protect us, but sometimes they are so inflexible that someone who makes a minor mistake could face decades behind bars. Without taking into consideration the specific details of an alleged crime, a court and jury cannot accurately determine if someone is guilty and what kind of punishment he or she should receive. For example, if a Minneapolis man was convicted of taking $1,890 from a bank, should he receive 25 years behind bars?
Theft crimes is one such category that should provide some flexibility in sentencing. After a 29-year-old Minneapolis man was arrested and charged with one count of armed robbery and four counts of interference with commerce by robbery under the Hobbs Act, CBS Minnesota reported that he could face a 25-year prison sentence, if convicted. While it may make sense to threaten someone who stole hundreds of thousands of dollars and shot innocent bystanders with such a harsh punishment, someone that stole less than $2,000 should be able to get off with a much lighter sentence.
One reason why the sentence could be so high is that each count under the Hobbs Act could lead to a 20-year sentence. The Act was passed to protect against seasoned violent offenders who interfered with interstate commerce, but there are no reports that the man did anything to disrupt commerce. While police say he stole from a bank on Central Avenue in Minneapolis and they claim he may have some connection with other banks, it does not appear that he took anything from the other banks.
An armed robbery charge is extremely serious and if you are even suspected of such a crime it is important to immediately contact a criminal defense attorney. Talking with police or attempting to clear your name by yourself could lead to police twisting your words into incriminating evidence, but an attorney can advise you on when it is appropriate to speak and when it is better to remain silent during an interrogation.
Source: CBS Minnesota, “Mpls Man Charged In Armed Robberies of Bank, 4 Stores,” Jan. 11, 2012