Crack Powder Penalty Debate
Matt Yglesias picks up on our "dumb law of the week" post criticizing Iowa for passing a law to equalize the crack/powder cocaine sentencing ratios by raising the penalties for powder offenses. He mentions there were prior federal attempts to do so which failed to pass Congress. Very true.
Sen. Wayne Allard (R-CO) introduced S.1162, the "Powder-Crack Cocaine Penalty Equalization Act of 1997." Then there was S. 2033, "The Powder Cocaine Mandatory Minimum Sentencing Act of 1998 and S. 260 (which almost made it to a floor vote.) Co-sponsors, and sponsors of similar bills, included: Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-UT) ; Senate Judiciary Committee Members Spencer Abraham (R-MI); Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) ; Charles Grassley (R-IA) (same), Jon Kyl (R-AZ) ; Senator Charles Robb (D-VA) ; Senator John Breaux (D-La) ; and House Rules Committee Chairman Gerald Solomon (R-NY).
While those bills were pending, over two dozen federal appeals and district court judges -- all of whom formerly served as United States Attorney -- submitted a joint letter to the Senate and House Judiciary Committees that flatly and persuasively opposed these proposals.
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