How long had human beings been ruled by Kings, Queens, Pharaohs, and the like? Then along comes the first big experiment in governance--we Americans decided to rule ourselves. Now, for this experiment to work, the powers that corrupt must be separated, so as to provide a check on each other's behavior. And this, my friends, is straight out of your fourth grade government textbook, the one with the big flag on the front.
The judicial branch has long held the awesome responsibility of sentencing citizens when they break the law. Judges are in the best position to understand all the facts and circumstances surrounding an offense, so they can best decide the consequences. Unfortunately, the legislative branch decided that judges are not doing a good enough job at sentencing, so our elected officials created "minimum mandatory sentences". If a person is found guilty of committing such an offense, the judge has no sentencing discretion--the judge must impose the minimum mandatory sentence. For example, if you are caught with enough weed, you would be "trafficking in cannabis", and sentenced to a 3 year minimum mandatory prison sentence. The judge would have no option to go lower than three years prison.
But wait, there's more. The Florida legislature has set forth some conditions under which, if all the planets align, a citizen may petition the judge for a lower sentence than the minimum mandatory. We call this a "downward departure" sentence, and the rules governing a downward departure can be found in Florida Statute 921.0026. This statute lists over 10 circumstances under which a judge may depart, such as (1) pursuant to a plea bargain, (2) defendant requires specialized treatment for a mental disorder, (3) the victim provoked the incident, (4) the defendant was too young at the time to appreciate the consequences of the offense, or (5) the defendant played a minor role in the offense.