In his Aug. 4 Local Opinions essay, “Living proof that mandatory minimums are wrong,” Virginia state Sen. Scott A. Surovell (D-Fairfax) asserted that Edward Simms is “living proof” that mandatory minimum sentences are wrong. But, oddly, Mr. Surovell avoided disclosing the actual crimes that Mr. Simms committed, attempting to portray him as a sympathetic child.

In fact, Mr. Simms was convicted of multiple counts of armed robbery, in which he brandished a sawed-off shotgun. Mr. Surovell also conveniently failed to mention that Mr. Simms was reported to have a long list of juvenile offenses. After Mr. Simms was arrested for his robbery spree, he twice escaped from custody — and after being convicted, “the 6-foot-tall muscular 17-year old . . . resisted an attempt by three bailiffs to put handcuffs on him,” according to the coverage of the Hampton, Va.,-based Daily Press.

Perhaps Mr. Simms truly did change in prison, as Mr. Surovell claimed. But Mr. Surovell’s efforts to mislead the public about the underlying facts only seem to confirm that a life sentence was not a case of injustice. Indeed, as was said in the Daily Press at the time: “They better do something before he kills someone.”

Jol Silversmith, Alexandria

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