Two Pending Bills to Eliminate Mandatory Minimums
Update: Here is the letter 75 organizations and law professors sent to the Senate urging the complete elimination of the disparity.
Major Drug Trafficking Prosecution Act of 2009 - Requires the Attorney General's prior written approval for a federal prosecution of an offense under the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) or the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (CSIEA), or for any conspiracy to commit such an offense, where the offense involves the illegal distribution or possession of a controlled substance in an amount less than that specified as a minimum for an offense under CSA or, in the case of any substance containing cocaine or cocaine base, in an amount less than 500 grams.
Modifies CSA (Controlled Substances Act)and CSIEA to delete specified mandatory minimum terms of imprisonment.
The bill has been referred to the House Judiciary and Energy and Commerce Committees. The full text is here. Will a Senator please step up and introduce it in the Senate?
As for the best bill eliminating the disparity in crack/powder cocaine sentencing, it's this one, H.R. 1459, The Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009, introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott with 15 co-sponsors:
Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009- Amends the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act to eliminate: (1) increased and mandatory minimum penalties for drug offenses involving mixtures or substances which contain cocaine base (i.e., crack cocaine); and (2) restrictions on judicial authority to grant probation or suspended sentences for certain cocaine offenses.
It is not, as I've written several times, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee's H.R. 265, a replica of S. 1711, Joe Biden's last crime bill which provides millions more dollars in funding to the DEA, federal prosecutors and others to keep the War on Drugs at full-tilt.
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