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May 10, 2007

The multi-front crack attack

Within the next few days, the US Sentencing Commission should release its highly-anticipated new cocaine sentencing report.  As highlighted here and here, I am very excited to see how this new report — which the USSC says will reiterate its "consistently held position that the 100-to-1 crack-powder drug quantity ratio significantly undermines various congressional objectives set forth in the Sentencing Reform Act and elsewhere" — might ripple through the current federal sentencing pond.

Meanwhile, the crack-cocaine sentencing ratio is still being assailed through cert petitions filed in the Supreme Court.  Coincidentally, today I received a copy of an initial petition filed in the Young case from the Third Circuit and a copy of a reply brief filed in the Spears case coming from the Eighth Circuit.   (These documents, which are great reads for folks following the crack story closely, can be downloaded below.)

Both Spears and Young would present great opportunities for the Supreme Court to remedy the ugly ways in which most circuits have been approaching crack sentencing after Booker.  However, it seems to me quite possible that the Justices will (at least indirectly) address some of these issues in Claiborne (and perhaps also Rita).  Consequently, I would anticipate post-Claiborne GVRs in both these cases.

Download young_crack_cert_petition.pdf

Download spears_cert_reply.pdf

May 10, 2007 at 08:10 PM | Permalink

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Tracked on May 11, 2007 3:45:08 PM

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