The Crack-Powder Cocaine Disparity: A Chronology
Posted on Wed Dec 12, 2007 at 08:53:49 PM EST
Tags: crack cocaine penalties, mandatory minimums (all tags)
There will be a Democratic debate tomorrow in Iowa, where the January 3 primary essentially is a toss-up between Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards.
In light of the Supreme Court decision this week in Kimbrough v. U.S. (pdf)authorizing federal judges to consider the great disparity in penalties for crack and powder cocaine offenses in deciding whether to sentence crack defendants below the federal sentencing guidelines ("...it would not be an abuse of discretion for a district court to conclude when sentencing a particular defendant that the crack/powder disparity yields a sentence “greater than necessary” to achieve §3553(a)’s purposes") and yesterday's decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to make retroactive the recent and relatively minor crack cocaine sentencing guideline reductions, I'm hoping the candidates will be asked their positions on mandatory minimum sentences and what they will do as President to change them.
I've put together a chronology of how the mandatory sentences came about and what efforts to change or resist changing them have been made since.
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