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January 26, 2009

Another local article showing relative ease of implementing crack reductions

This effective local article, headlined "Q-C crack cocaine sentences reduced," provides yet another example of how effectively and efficiently lower courts have been implementing the reduced crack sentences that the Sentencing Commission made retroactive. Here are snippets:

After playing football for the Iowa Hawkeyes, Ernest Crank turned to dealing crack cocaine. The amount of crack he dealt landed Crank, a native of Chicago, in a federal courtroom in Davenport and then in federal prison for 20 years. Crank has learned much during time so far in prison, court documents say.

“He has taken advantage of every program made available to him,” his attorney, Clemens Erdahl, wrote in a motion to reduce Crank’s sentence. “His self-education in the law … is evidence of an excellent mind and the ability to channel his time and energy productively. Thus, defendant is a better man than the one who was incarcerated over nine years ago.”

But what Crank has come to know during his prison time has little to do with the four-year reduction in sentence he received. Instead, his request is one of thousands filed nationally as federal officials reduced the amount of time people spend in prison for dealing the highly addictive drug that affects the black community more than any other....

For the most part, the process has gone smoothly in the two federal courthouses that serve the Quad-Cities, officials said. Prosecutors and defense attorneys worked with probation officers to sift through applications to determine who was eligible and who was not. People with mandatory sentences and career offender status were out. A few people convicted of other types of crime attempted to ask for reductions, too.

In the Central District of Illinois, of which the Illinois Quad-Cities is a part, 307 cases were considered as of the beginning of December, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Of those 139 were granted, and 168 were denied. The average decrease was 28 months.

Jeff Lang, assistant U.S. attorney, said the process was smooth for the most part. Prosecutors examined cases to determine if a person would present a substantial public safety risk if released...

In the Southern District of Iowa, which includes the Iowa Quad-Cities, 144 cases were considered as of December, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Eighty were granted; 64 were denied. The average reduction was 27 months.

January 26, 2009 at 09:42 AM | Permalink

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