AG Holder Asks For Cocaine Sentencing Reform

Via Sentencing Lsw and Policy, Attorney General Eric Holder today spoke at the event "“Rethinking Federal Sentencing Policy: 25th Anniversary of the Sentencing Reform Act." His remarks are here.

The AP reports he is soliciting cocaine sentencing reform.

"This administration firmly believes that the disparity in crack and powdered cocaine sentences is unwarranted," Holder said. "It must be eliminated."

As I noted a few days ago, Holder spoke to judges about sentencing last week at the D.C. Judicial Conference. I opined he was trying, but needed to try harder to light a fire under Congress to revise both cocaine penalties and mandatory minimums. Today he clearly called for a 1:1 sentencing ratio for crack and powder, instead of saying "if" a 1:1 ratio "is our goal." I'm glad to see him stepping up the pressure. [More...]

If Congress doesn't act soon, I still hope he'll consider my suggestion:

President Obama could issue an executive order declaring a moratorium on crack cocaine sentencing until a reform bill is passed, and further, providing that all detained crack defendants are to be released on bond pending sentencing. Maybe that would get Congress moving.

More on the pending reform bills here. I like Rep. Bobby Scott's H.R. 1459 which now has 18 co-sponsors and Rep. Charlie Rangel's H.R. 2178.

I also hope retroactivity can be included so the change applies to those already serving unjust sentences.

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    Justice Profiling (none / 0) (#1)
    by AnthonyLook on Wed Jun 24, 2009 at 10:05:47 PM EST
    This is the issue that Holder is working on; what with the multitude of agregious criminal assaults the previous Bush Administration has committed, this is the overwhelming concern of this Justice Department. Don't get me wrong, it's admirable and important to correct the obvious racial disparity of justice imposed as punishment of each of the crimes in question; however, this is not what many Americans thought Holder and the Justice Department (not to mention Pres Obama) would deem most important. Its hard to say its disappointing because it is a righteous endeavor; but, oh my heck, its really disconcerting.