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Judge Lobbies for Release of Man He Sentenced to Life in Prison

When an envoy visited the White House to advocate for an inmate serving a life sentence, most of the headlines went toward fashion model and lifestyle icon Kim Kardashian West. However, accompanying her was former federal judge Kevin Sharp. Sharp carried an authoritative tone because of his years on the federal bench. But Sharp also had a specific opinion on the inmate in question because he was the one who sentenced him to prison.

Back in 2013, Christopher Young was sentenced to life in prison under a federal “three strikes” law, even though his drug charges were nonviolent. Sharp says Young should never have received such a harsh sentence, but that during the trial, his hands were tied because of the sentencing statutes.

Sharp vividly remembered that day in court, listening to Young give his formal statement:

If anyone is getting a mandatory sentence, you have to remember these are still people. You need to give them a chance to talk. It was the worst time I've ever had on the bench. I knew it was a mandatory life sentence. He knew it was a mandatory life sentence …

Sharp is notable for having left a lifetime judicial position to advocate for change:

Our criminal justice system is a mess. It's still the best there is, but there is so much we could do to make it better. And one of those things has got to be get rid of mandatory minimums. Let the judges do what you ask them to do. I got to the point where I'm thinking: “Is my role in society better on the bench or off the bench? Am I better off the bench working and advocating for a more fair criminal justice system?"

Possible Preaching Angle:

Those in authority have a responsibility to wield that authority justly. If we find we can make a difference for those without influence, we are obligated to do so. This will result in the honor and glory of Christ.

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