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May 20, 2008

Will Willie Mays Aikens be freed as a result of the new crack guidelines?

Articles in the Kansas City Star and the The State indicate that a renown baseball player may be about to benefit from the new federal crack guidelines.  Here are the basics of this sporting story:

New sentencing guidelines might earn Willie Mays Aikens an early release from prison.  The former Seneca High and S.C. State baseball standout, who found fame and fortune with the Kansas City Royals before losing it all to drugs, could be ordered set free as soon as today.

His fate is in the hands of Laine Cardarella, a federal public defender who filed a stipulation and waiver agreement in Aikens’ name Monday in the Western District Court of Missouri. “We’re hoping he’ll be home soon,” Cardarella said. 

In 1994, Aikens was sentenced to 20 years, eight months after being convicted on federal drug and firearms charges....  Since his conviction, those opposed to mandatory sentencing have considered Aikens’ situation a classic case of cruel and unusual punishment.

Before the guidelines were created, the amount of crack in Aikens’ possession (64 grams) would have amounted to a sentence of little more than two years with the possibility of parole. His appeals were denied, and two attempts at gaining a presidential pardon were declined by Bill Clinton and George W. Bush.

On March 3, new crack sentencing guidelines were approved by Congress and made retroactive, affecting Aikens’ sentence. Cardarella, who is filing similar paperwork for 360 people, said about 70 percent of her defendants have had their sentences reduced. Cardarella and Aikens’ lawyer Margaret Love believe he will be released because he has served nearly 14 years.  Sentence reductions have ranged from 22 months to seven years.

May 20, 2008 at 08:27 AM | Permalink

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