Skip to main content

Congress Stood Up for Fairer Sentencing. The Supreme Court Should Too.

Today we filed a friend-of-the-court brief in two Supreme Court cases that deal with the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 (FSA), which reduced the disparity between federal mandatory minimum sentences for crack versus powder cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1. As we’ve written before, this was a significant step in the direction of fairness.

In Hill v. United States and Dorsey v. United States, the Court will decide whether people whose offenses predate the enactment of the FSA but who were sentenced afterwards should get the benefit of the new, fairer 18:1 ratio (the fairest ratio would be 1:1), or instead be sentenced under the old 100:1 ratio, which had no basis in science and resulted in racially biased sentencing. In our brief, we join Hill and Dorsey — as well as the Obama administration — in urging the Court to hold that Congress intended the FSA to apply in all sentencing proceedings that occur after its enactment.

The FSA was passed to correct the problems with the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which created a sentencing scheme that unequally punished comparable offenses involving crack and powder cocaine — two forms of the same drug. Relying on perceived differences in the harmfulness and dangerousness of crack versus powder cocaine amid media hysteria surrounding crack cocaine, the 1986 law created a 100:1 disparity between the amounts of crack versus powder cocaine necessary to trigger particular sentences. Thus, for example, someone convicted of an offense involving just five grams of crack cocaine was subject to the same five-year mandatory minimum federal prison sentence as someone convicted of an offense involving 500 grams of powder cocaine. But empirical evidence has demonstrated that there is no scientific basis to support the supposed differences between crack and powder cocaine which Congress had relied upon in devising the 100:1 ratio.

Read on...

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Four Ways 3D Printing May Threaten Security
"3D printers already produce everything from prosthetic hands and engine parts to basketball shoes and fancy chocolates. But as with any technological advance, new possibilities come with new perils.​​​​​​​
A new RAND paper, Additive Manufacturing in 2040: Powerful Enabler, Disruptive Threat, explores how 3D printers will affect personal, national, and international security. The paper is part of RAND's Security 2040 initiative, which looks over the horizon to anticipate future threats.
The same technology that might one day custom-print heart valves can just as easily produce gun parts. The same machines that allow astronauts on the international space station to print their own tools might also help a state like North Korea print military or industrial equipment to get around international sanctions...."

They May Cause Harm

by digby



Here's a great article on the use of tasers and what's becoming an important part of the debate --- the fact that they are killing people with them:

On a balmy fall night, two police officers in a squad car in east Bradenton spotted a man on a bicycle without a headlight.

Derrick Humbert, 38, rode a bike around town because seizures from a head injury prevented him from driving. He worked odd jobs as a short-order cook and gardener. He took care of his three kids, 2, 8 and 11, while their mother worked the evening shift at a 7-Eleven.

On this Monday in late September, he was riding home from a convenience store just after midnight when police told him to stop.

Instead, he pedaled around a corner past three houses, jumped off the bike and ran into a yard, the two officers chasing him on foot.

Read on...

The Way of The Gun

Iconic characters from crime fiction's most popular writers reflect on their tools of the trade.



JOE PIKE, BusinessmanGUN: KIMBER CUSTOM II MODEL 1911 .45 ACP“The best semiautomatic combat pistol made. The lowered ejector port, full-length guide rail, beveled magazine well and superb tolerances give outstanding out-of-the-box accuracy and reliability. The big .45 ACP bullet is heavy and slow, but that’s what you want. A lighter, faster bullet will punch through a man, carrying its energy with it. A .45 hollowpoint flattens and dumps its energy into the target like a truck T-boning a Prius. You don’t need to double-tap with the .45. One shot will knock a big man off his feet. LAPD SWAT uses the Kimber. USMC Special Operations Command (Force Recon) uses it. I use it. That’s all you need to know.”WRITER: ROBERT CRAISRead on...