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#15 - Politician: The mandatory jail sentences that became

LSAT Master
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Dear Powescore,

For this question I thought that the answer is A and actually it is E. I just want to know why A is wrong and E is the right answer.

Now, that I thought about it, is it because in A, the wording is too strong "should allways" but the language in the stimulus seemed strong too.

Thanks in advance

PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
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Hi Ellenb,

Thanks again for your question. The issue with (A) is an answer choice is not that it's strongly worded. Given that you're looking for a principle that justifies the answer choice, stronger emphasis or certainty (e.g. only, always) is actually an asset. Answer choice A however, does not directly address the problem identified in the stimulus. That is the problem is that juries may acquit defendants they do believe to be guilty, to avoid excessive sentences. A, which specifies that juries should acquit when they are *NOT* sure of guilt, does not actually address or resolve that problem, nor does it undermine the advocate's conclusion that therefore mandatory jail sentences should be repealed.

E, on the other hand, indicates that a change of the type contemplated (reversing the mandatory sentencing rule) should only take place if there is no alternative solution. Since there may be alternatives solutions that will fix the problem of wrong verdicts (i.e. acquitting a guilty defendant), this does undermine the advocate's claim. We don't need to know what those solutions might be, it's enough that there's a possibility.

Hope this helps!!
LSAT Master
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BethRibet wrote:We don't need to know what those solutions might be, it's enough that there's a possibility.

How do we even know that there's a possibility? I don't see anything in the stimulus that suggests that.
James Finch
PowerScore Staff
PowerScore Staff
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Hi MN,

The public advocate sets up a false dichotomy: either we allow the current law to stand, with all its faults, or we must repeal it to get rid of its faults. The public advocate's conclusion is that the latter is necessary, because the problem he cites (guilty defendants being acquitted soley based on their mandatory punishment if convicted) is so grave that it requires repeal.

(E) challenges this false dichotomy by introducing the possibility that instead of a full repeal of a law, we may instead modify it so as to reduce or eliminate the problems it currently has. So flexibility in sentencing could be introduced, with judges given more leeway, or mandatory minimum sentences be reduced, and thus weakens the necessity of a full repeal of the law.

Hope this clears things up!