The Roanoke paper opines here that mandatory minimum penalties are mostly a bad idea.
The article notes:
"Drawing inspiration from the case of Sid Clower, the ex-Henry County administrator convicted of embezzlement, Del. Roscoe Reynolds, D-Henry County, sponsored a bill creating tougher sentences for government officials who steal public money.
Fortunately, lawmakers rejected the proposal by an 11-9 vote. They understood that rubber-stamping the proposal would hamstring judges, requiring them to impose blanket punishment rather than considering the circumstances of each case and meting out an appropriate penalty."