a bird and a bottle


SCOTUS will review the crack/cocaine disparity
June 12, 2007, 8:34 am
Filed under: civil rights, criminal justice, drug war, law, news

Interesting news from ACSBlog: The Supreme Court yesterday agreed to hear a case challenging the disparity between sentences for crack cocaine and those for powder cocaine. As I have discussedat length — the fact that crack possession is punished 100 times more harshly than cocaine possession is both nonsensical and racist (which might make it sensical to some, I guess).

Anyway, the Supreme Court will hear the case, Kimbrough v. U.S., in its next term after a nice long summer vacation. Kimbrough concerns a question of judges’ sentencing authority: does a judge have the power to sentence outside the 100-to-1 guidelines? SCOTUSBlog has a more full (and somewhat technical) explanation.

It’ll be interesting to see how this one comes out. It’s not just going to be a decision about drug war policies. Scalia has been surprisingly pro-defendant on sentencing, and Breyer supports giving judges more leeway. We could end up with a strange group in the majority and perhaps finally an end to one of the most overtly racist practices in today’s criminal justice system.

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Judge Hurd of the United States District Court for the Norther District of New York sentenced Hartfield to 120 months imprisonment for a narcotics offense. The Government appealed that sentence, asserting that the Judge Hurd had erred in not considering (in calculating Hartfield’s advisory Guidelines range) “any of Hartfield’s conduct relating to the amount of crack cocaine for which he was responsible that was not proven to a jury beyond a reasonable doubt or admitted by Hartfield.”
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oliviaharis
Alabama Drug Treatment

Comment by oliviaharis




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