Crack Retroactivity: Don't Look to Obama for Help
Josh Gerstein has a long piece at Politico on Obama and crime policy.
Shorter version: Don't look to Obama for help in making the crack cocaine penalty reductions retroactive to help those already serving the unfair, draconian sentences:
Asked whether Obama might grant requests to commute the sentences of those who would have gotten less punishment if they committed their crimes today, an administration official said the crack-disparity bill “reflected Congress’s judgment that the law should not be retroactive, [and] the President believes that the Fair Sentencing Act will go a long way toward ensuring that our sentencing laws are tough, consistent, and fair.”
The official also downplayed the notion Obama might offer some kind of blanket clemency for earlier crack-cocaine offenders, saying that “as a general matter, the President agrees with the Department of Justice’s long-held view that commutation is an extraordinary remedy that should only be granted in extraordinary circumstances.”
Obama has been in office 18 months and not granted a single pardon or clemency.
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