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Minnesota state judges deal out varying punishments for drug offenses

State judges are routinely rejecting guidelines that are supposed to make drug sentencing uniform and equitable statewide, according to a Star Tribune analysis of more than 21,000 drug convictions in Minnesota from 2007 to 2012. The difference between getting prison or probation for the same drug crime often comes down to which county offenders live in, or which judge does the sentencing. In the 8th Judicial District in western Minnesota, offenders convicted of the most serious drug crimes face a 77 percent chance of getting the full prison sentence. In Hennepin County, only 27 percent get the toughest penalty.

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