Fed. Judge Departs from Guidelines, Says Crack Sentences Too Long
Cheers for U.S. District Court Judge Gregory Presnell in Orlando, FL.
Sentencing Law and Policy reports that in US v. Hamilton, (pdf) No. 6:05-cr-157-Orl-31JGG (M.D. Fla. Mar. 16, 2006), the Judge refused to apply the draconian federal crack cocaine guidelines because they are irrational in comparison to the severity of the offense. Using the Booker case (argued in the Supreme Court by TalkLeft co-blogger TChris) that rendered the guidelines advisory rather than mandatory, Judge Presnell ruled:
This arbitrary and discriminatory disparity between powder and crack cocaine implicates the Section 3553(a)(2)(A) factors. Unless one assumes the penalties for powder cocaine are vastly too low, then the far-higher penalties for crack are at odds with the seriousness of the offense. The absence of a logical rationale for such a disparity and its disproportionate impact on one historically disfavored race promotes disrespect for the law and suggests that the resulting sentences are unjust. Accordingly, these statutory factors weigh heavily against the imposition of a Guidelines sentence.
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