May 7, 2009
A (third-hand hearsay) report on how DOJ is now dealing with crack sentencings
In prior posts, I have been wondering how local federal prosecutors would approach crack sentencings in the wake of advocacy from the new Justice Department last week in Congress urging the complete elimination of any crack/powder disparity. This afternoon, I got a partial (third-hand hearsay) answer when I received from a friend of the blog via e-mail what purports to be part of a letter from a federal prosecutor to defense counsel in one federal district. Here is the key section of that letter:
United States Attorney’s Offices were provided with new guidance concerning sentencing for crack cocaine offenses. This guidance provides that United States Attorney’s Offices should inform courts that the Department of Justice believes Congress and the United States Sentencing Commission should eliminate the crack/powder cocaine disparity. Congress has not yet determined whether or how to achieve a more appropriate sentencing scheme for crack and powder offenses. Until Congress acts, the Department of Justice recognizes courts must exercise their discretion under existing case law to fashion a sentence that is consistent with the objectives of 18 U.S.C. § 3553(a).
The Department of Justice’s position with respect to variance motions in crack cocaine cases is to be determined on a case-by-case basis. The Department of Justice will continue to charge provable threshold quantities of crack cocaine triggering mandatory minimums.
Some recent related posts:
- With the new DOJ advocating completely eliminating crack/powder disparity, now what?
- Watching the webcast of the Senate crack disparity hearing
- Is the new DOJ about to crack the stalemate over fixing the crack disparity?
- DOJ's basic game-plan while urging crack sentencing reform from Congress
- Eager to hear and post reports on courtroom ripples of new DOJ crack/powder policy
- Has there been any in-court impact from DOJ's new crack sentencing policy?
May 7, 2009 at 05:33 PM | Permalink
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"The Department of Justice will continue to charge provable threshold quantities of crack cocaine triggering mandatory minimums."
That's disappointing, because the mandatory minimums are often what trigger the especially brutal sentences for first time offenders. If the DOJ was serious about getting rid of the disparity, they could not include quantities in indictments, or at least choose to include a lesser amount.
Posted by: Anon 423 | May 7, 2009 6:10:42 PM