For Kane, the mandatory minimum sentences judges are now required to impose in drug cases smack of McCarthyism. Instead of the Red Menace, the new fear is of being seen as "soft on crime." His response is to just say no to such pressure.
"When you eliminate that sense of personal responsibility, it bureaucratizes the process," he says. "For a judge who grew up in the silent generation, the need to conform to some kind of grid is psychologically repugnant."