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September 27, 2010

"Make new crack law retroactive"

The title of this post is the headline of this opinion piece appearing in today's National Law Journal authored by Harlan Protass and Mark Harris. Here is how it starts and ends:

Last month, President Obama signed landmark legislation revising broadly condemned laws passed in the late 1980s that punished crack cocaine offenses much more harshly than crimes involving powder cocaine. The new law raises the minimum amount of crack required to trigger a five-year mandatory minimum sentence from 5 to 28 grams, and the amount of crack required to generate a 10-year mandatory minimum from 50 to 280 grams. Although far from perfect — the new law still maintains an excessive distinction between crack and powder cocaine — the changes could, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission, affect as many as 3,000 defendants each year, reducing the average prison term for crack offenses by more than two years. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. described the new law as "long in coming."

Now Congress needs to finish the job by making the new scheme retroactive — a move that would permit thousands of men and women who were sentenced long ago for crimes involving crack to benefit from lawmakers' new and enlightened perspectives about punishment for those types of offenses. Basic fairness requires no less....

Opportunities to rethink — and cleanly remedy — social injustices are rare. The new crack sentencing bill signed into law last month presents just such a chance, one that lawmakers should not pass over. To do otherwise is to perpetuate mistakes that have taken a generation to fix.

September 27, 2010 at 08:55 AM | Permalink

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Comments

Yeah. Regardless of your position on this issue, I really wouldn't hold my breath waiting for this to happen . . .

Posted by: anon | Sep 27, 2010 6:21:56 PM

Please can you make this new crack law retroactive so my husband can come home to his family we have three kids and it's been heard since be been gones but my life would be better if he was home because i'm getting real sick monday i will know if i have to have surgery on my kidney stone and we need him home so please i'm begging you please do this for my family as well other family thank u so much for listing love Idrina Preston

Posted by: Idrina Preston | Oct 14, 2010 4:03:24 PM

Please Make the new crack law retroactive,I miss my boyfriend so muchand I know he has changed. His family and I need him home.I love him so much and it's been so long since we have seen him. He has been moved so far from his family,he's now more that 13hours away. Pls help my family

Posted by: Jonelle Velasquez | Oct 19, 2010 2:09:40 AM

Please make the new crack law that was signed on last month about the one for one law retroactive my son has been gone since 2003 and his son was 2years old when he got locked up although we don't get to visit him very much I've showed his son pictures of his Daddy and I always let him know how much his father loved him!!! please go retroactive so i can have my son back and my Daughters want there Brother back,my Grandson ask all the time is it almost time for my Daddy to come home I miss him so much.I tell him to pray that God will Bring his Father home and he prays hard everynight!!! thank you in advance for making this new Law retroactive!!

Posted by: charlene banks | Oct 20, 2010 12:17:39 AM

Please change law n make retroactive my fiancee will get out n we will be a happy family I love n miss him so much.

Posted by: mavis brown | Oct 22, 2010 9:08:50 PM

please send my boyfriend home. he really was over sentenced and everyone deserves another chance. everyone knows that the old law wasnt fair thats why its passed now. it took a black president to make a change for th blacks what a shame but just send them home. so they can try to re-establish themselves in the world.

Posted by: la quaya | Oct 23, 2010 12:40:25 AM

when will they let them go my husband was locked up because he wouldn't lie and now he's in for life but this new law will help him a whole lot when does it go into effect

Posted by: dewan | Oct 24, 2010 12:03:54 PM

please let this law pass i have a mother and father thats in prisonserving 25 years so bless them and let this law pass thank god they let me out on the crack law in 2008 make a way for my parents god bless

Posted by: tawana | Oct 30, 2010 7:01:17 PM

i think it really suck.people are getting waay to much time for these drug charges.It is plum rediculas.People get less time for murder.As proven today alcohol is much more dangerous than crack or herion.So what does that tell you.Laws are crazy and need to be changed.Stop the crazinest now.It is plum rediculas and things need to change now.Free those people now that have spent way to much time in prison. It is time to stop the crazynest now,do not let it go on any longer.

Posted by: carolyn | Nov 1, 2010 3:49:17 PM

I THINK IT IS PLUM CRAZY TO MAKE THOSE PRISONERS PAY FOR THIS CRIME OF DRUG CHARGES IS TO HARSH.aLCOHOL IS MUCH WORSE.nOT FAIR ,NOT FAIR NEVER FAIR.

Posted by: carolyn | Nov 1, 2010 3:53:21 PM

Please let the law pass, my husband has realize his faults and wants to come home to be a husband and a father to his kids. I had our son and he wasn't able to see him born. He knows the lord has him there for a reason, i'm begging and our kids are begging to let the men come home a have a second chance at providing for their families. My husband has a little brother who cries when he thinks about his older brother being in prison, he don't even want to visit him in there. My husband has little brother's and a lil sister who need him and looks at him as their father

Posted by: sichoma mcmillan | Nov 2, 2010 7:36:06 PM

I'm a student...i think it should go retro if you look at it we as tax payers have to foot the bill for these prisoner that are being held in prison for crimes that are not punishable to have a life sentence. Everyone needs a second chance we have murderers that has gotten lesser charges than this, what is going on with the justice department these laws need to be revamped and the crack law really should go retro the last one went retro in 87 so what makes this one so different. Please let them get another try at life no one deserves to be locked up for the rest of there life but murderers they took a life so there life should be rightfully taken.
Thank you
Lisa, paralegal student

Posted by: Lisa | Nov 3, 2010 1:11:13 PM

My son is serving 6yrs for 100.00 worth of crack.They wired the confidential informant and spent tax dollars,housing,feeding,transporting my son all over the country.Charging all kinds of money from parents for calls, shoes, soap, and everything else while trying to help take care his children. This is worse than shameful. Everybody know not one young black man has brought one ounce of cocaine into this country. Maybe it was from the American Gangster (Frank)I can almost asure the powers (Feds) that be, he was the one and only. Whats sad is all the locked up inmates coming out with college degrees and still can't get a job because of the felony.

Posted by: Sandra | Nov 5, 2010 4:06:01 PM

My husband has been locked up for 15 years now. I am hoping that the new crack law will go retroactive so he can have an immediate release. 15yrs is entirely too long

Posted by: kelley bryant | Nov 5, 2010 8:57:33 PM

Hello,I feel this new law should be retroactive my husband has been locked away since Jan,09 they picked him up on our sons birthday. This unjustice is long over due. Its a shame how someone can take another persons life and only get 5yrs for that crime, but a street level drug dealer who was probably out on the streets to help pay bills, and keep a roof over his kids head. They would throw the book at him. now tell me how is that justice.

Posted by: loniece jones | Nov 6, 2010 12:08:00 AM

Hello again, just wanting to know if anyone know a great Federal lawyer who possible can help me out with my husband case. His current lawyer doesnt seem interested in anything I have to say about the cases, and seems not to care if the new crack law becomes retroactive or not. I guess that means more work for him huh, They have moved my husband clean cross the country, no family can go see him and my health will not allow me to travel that far. If you are reading this and know of a great lawyer thats willing to go the extra mile for his client please send me a email at loniecejones@yahoo.com

Posted by: loniece jones | Nov 6, 2010 12:18:14 AM

I got a question? My boyfriend was sent last year and the judge sent him 5 years and he also sent him up under the new law if it past. So would he have to wait until it go retro?

Posted by: Smile | Nov 10, 2010 12:06:24 PM

I know what our men and women did was wrong and i know that each and everyone of them has learned a lesson from their actions. I am begging for the law to go retroactive, allow a fair sentence to everyone who has been effect by the old law. After making the law retroactive,helping indivdual with training, job placement, and housing. Getting them a opportunity to really live their life peaceful and honesty instead of taking their life away. Please help us we need our love one home. They are not murders, theif, or sexually predutor

Posted by: monique courtney | Nov 11, 2010 6:27:34 PM

Why is this retroactivity a long drawn out process? It cost millions just to keep begging the GOV's for it. My husband has done 21 years and counting and with that said He is a blessed human being and I know he has helped thousands to do their time while touching them in GODs name. He still remains as they continue to leave. His work there is now done we need him so that we can conquer through these difficult times. He does have family that cares. Give retroactivity cause I am sure with this mess and struggles going on in this country he will continue to pay dearly for a life time over one mistake. Bless us all.

Posted by: Mrs. Wondering Grant | Nov 13, 2010 7:16:48 PM

I really hope that this law will allow my fiance come home! I was 2months pregnant with his first born child, which happens to be a boy when he got locked up. I have a 8yr old son who is not by him but he was helping me raise him before this all happen! HE is a changed man he was a very young man when he caught the case. And being away from his family has really made him change his way of thinking. Having lost his father the the streets when he was just a young man has really made him change so he can be there for his son's! He has found Jehovah and has made me strengthen my relationship with God as well. I know if he comes home due to this law he will be a productive citizen. While in there he has came up with so many plans to better himself and help other also! He has found different ways to help fix Detroit's economy! I know in my heart he will never commit another crime as long as he lives! So please allow this law to help every other black family bring home their loved ones! We have to many lost young men who need them!

Posted by: erica d lee | Nov 20, 2010 5:35:42 PM

I think it should pass drug dealers get more time then murderers and child molesters i have friends that have been there for 15 some 16 yrs some had mothers and fathers to pass while in prison some have kids they have not seen not condoning what they done but alot have done more time then necessary and if they get out and do it all over again then yeah throw the book at them i believe everyone deserve a second chance at a life to live

Posted by: tammy | Dec 1, 2010 12:58:56 AM

I feel that murders and child rapers get less time than drug dealers and it's so not fair where is the justice? putting a person away for 10 to 20 years for drugs omg is so wrong unfair and unjustified. it's not ok and it's not ok to play with a persons life. we all make mistakes what ever happened to given a second chance?

Posted by: shanny | Dec 1, 2010 10:42:40 AM

I hope and pray this law is passed. I need my husband home. I have made sure one of our boys got to College, He is a Sophmore in Southern Indiana. I really need help with our other two children. I work full time but we have suffered so much since our loved one was taken away for so long. He can not come home till Oct 2019 but this will allow him to come home sooner. I hope and pray this passes it is and always has been in Gods hands.

Posted by: Shawna | Dec 20, 2010 4:12:40 PM

plz make this crack law retroactive my boyfriend has been locked up for 11 yrs and he is ready to come home n im ready for him to come home n his kids are ready for him to be home they was babies when they left but now they grown!! its horrible how they treat a man that sells drugs im not sayin its right but damn people kill other people and walk away wit less then wat my man walked away wit!! plz people if u had any heart at all u would pass it and let not only my man come home but tons of peoples family members!! a lot ppl may think there bad people but we still love n miss them and they are still are families and they aint bad people they was just tryin to survive n take care of there families (most of them) thanx

Posted by: ashley | Jan 17, 2011 11:15:48 PM

Have we gotten so NUMB, that we automatically have a ready reply "oh tsk that's a shame " Well it is a shame ,Americas shame .corrall em. Up just like cattle place them in overcrowed cells .Allow the ones in authority over them forget their professionalism they become drunk with power! They then hold grudges,lose all objectivity so therefore any request of the prisoner will be denied and sent through the motions .The Shame is because the attitude of the land is you heard one story you have heard it all.Since we refuse to release our cattle maybe we can allow them to be housed in facilities near their families and love ones .So people like my friend who doctor wrote a letter detailing why it would not be beneficial to her health trying to travel halfway across the country to see her son who has been corralled like cattle since the early Ninities on a NON VIOLENT FIRSTTIME OFFENSE ! Thank you for having enough compassion to let me express how far as a country we have not overcame ! Sincerely. Ms. Rhonda concerned citizen Citzen

Posted by: Rhonda | Jan 30, 2011 1:10:57 AM

I hope this law passes and it helps my son come home sooner than his sentence. It has ripped me apart that my son got made a injustice sentence of 20yrs for selling crack. His first lawyer was so sad didn't speak up for him or nothing. Now he has a federal lawyer who seems to be doing all she can to defend him. he is waiting for a answer for a motion. His first lawyer told him he would get no more than 10 yrs. He got 20yrs. I fell to the ground with hurt. My son is 27 yrs old and has been in prison for 4yrs. Its feels as bad as death in your family for your loved one to be sentenced that way. Please help us!!!!!!!

Posted by: wendy | Feb 2, 2011 7:54:06 PM

It's sad that the messages that I have read tonight are all the same--we all have been sentenced with our love ones---Obama said it "its time for a change"


Posted by: Toy | Feb 24, 2011 10:49:27 PM

I hope this law goes retroactive. It sad how so many of our love ones are locked up. I agree with you all, most murders get off so easy. I have a friend that is doing 15 years for selling crack. My ex-husband murdered a woman, shot a man in the face and was the cause of his daughter being a still born and he's out walking in the free world. WHERE IS THE JUSTICE IN THAT?? I don't understand how this is possible!! I know there are things we will never understand, and the way the government operate is one that I truly don't understand. My ex-husband only did 14 months for the crimes he committed. Sometimes justice isn't fair. Please turn this situation around for our love ones and make this law retroactive. Most have children they haven't seen and been out of their families life for a long time. Have a heart and an open mind about these situations. God has the last say so in any situation. It ain't over till GOD say it's over. I'm praying for a break through, for everyone who's facing this situation. Thank GOD they have family members and friends that love them inspite of their wrong doing. It seem as if the government don't care about them. LET them people GO!!!!!

Posted by: Mz. Sassy | Feb 25, 2011 4:01:29 AM

The laws are so unfair,my husband got sentenced to long 21 years for his actions,he should of killed someone and got less time or even robbed a bank butno he was tryn to help support his family cuz he couldnt get a job because of his felony,but he is black and thats how these racists judges are and im a white female and i been on both sides of the tracks,and yes blacks get more time and whites get less sooooooooo unfair make the law retro...

Posted by: daylene bunch | Mar 4, 2011 7:12:01 AM

This law should go retro. One reason is because it was too harsh. Like mentioned in previous posts, some murderers get less time. I understand the drug game can be very dangerous but so can other crimes that are committed. The sentencing should be fair. Twenty and thirty five years is entirely too long. I can never understand for the life of me how you can get a group of people to all decided to make decisions that are morally wrong. We put people in higher positions for the wrong reasons. You should genuinely care about people when it comes to dealing with people lives.

Reasons 2 and 3, it will save taxpayers money and reunite families. Let these people out and allow them to start over. Get a job and raise their families. If they stay in for 20 to 40 years chances are they will be on the state forever. It will be hard for someone coming out of prison to get a job after 40 years. On top of that the world would have changed so much they would not have the skill set. If they get caught again then give them the remainder of their time and then some. We need to do the right thing with this law.

Posted by: Shawynee | Mar 27, 2011 6:33:34 PM

I am reading all these responses and Have being reading up on alot of things about the sentences of what some men and women have gotten. I know that a crime was committed and yes they should serve the time. BUT there should be a limit on what is allowed. Times have really changed and so have people.I believe that when crack/cocaine became wide spread Government did not know how to handle the issue and so they decide if we get them off the street permantely that will resolve the issue. NOT! I have seen murderers, rapist that have gotten ALOT less time. I am a firm believer that prayer changes things and that it is not over until God gets the glory. I am really amazed when I hear the amount of time someone gets for selling $100.00 of crack, but then you rather have a crack head informant that is wanting less time to do your work. She give them money to buy it, they are con artist also so go figure, they should be arrested also for giving the informant money to buy it, cause they end up smoking it. I am bothered by talking to people they tell me there story. So lets pray and I hope that i can include you and yours in a prayer chain for healing.

Posted by: Tania | May 10, 2011 7:08:40 AM

Please make the new lax retroactive. My fiance was sentenced to 360 months, he has already served 13 years. We are very much in love. I have a good job and I am going to do everything that I can to help him in any way that I can. He will have a place to live, which would be with me and I will support him myself until he is able to find employment. I have been to visit him and we talk all of the time, he is a changed man. Please.

Posted by: Gail Collins | Jun 5, 2011 1:57:07 PM

PLEASE MAKE THIS BILL RETROACTIVE. MY BROTHER HAS BEEN INCARCERATED FOR 21 YEARS ON A 30 YEAR SENTENCE. WHICH THE CRACK COCAINE PROBABLY DIDN'T AMOUNT OVER $100.00 AND HE GOT SENTENCED LIKE HE WAS A KING PIN OR SOMETHING. HE COMES FROM A VERY GOOD BACKGROUND, JUST MADE SOME WRONG CHOICES IN LIFE. I PERSONALLY KNOW PEOPLE WHO HAS BEEN CHARGED WITH MURDER AND DIDN'T GET HALF THE TIME THEY GAVE HIM FOR DRUGS. AND THE YEAR HE WAS SENTENCED THE GUY THAT WAS WORKING FOR THE COURTS WHO TESTED THE DRUGS FOR THESE CASES WAS FOUND TO BE A FRAUD, HAD NO DEGREE IN THIS FIELD AND WAS DISMISSED FROM HIS JOB. SO FOR REAL WE DONT EVEN KNOW IF THE DRUGS THEY SAY THEY FOUND WERE REAL.

Posted by: MARSHEILA THOMPSON | Jun 8, 2011 6:34:22 PM

PLEASE MAKE THIS BILL RETROACTIVE. If its been along time coming should not hesitate. My son Eddie has been in prison for years now. The last time i seen him. was day he was sentence 10/23/2008 I belive In St paul Minnesota. Seehe is in federal prison in texas.Bastrop i belive. I have panic attacks and have trouble going that far to visit him. Plus am not rich and with prices of gas it be more then i could afford. I just not understand why people would not want this to go retroactive. The prisons are full......thats wny my son is in texas and not the home state he was sentenced in as they have no room. Off the recordI really not understand why murders. thats someone thats ended another persons life get out and liter sentences then that what my son was convicted of. Surely we would want murderers be in system longer would we not .I never understood. This system we call =.Al I ask is PLEASE MAKE THIS BILL RETROACTIVE. Surely the ammount of time he has had no interaction with family and friends No visits, Has made this harsher on both him and family members. How do you think i feel,not being able to visit with him its like a sentence I also am serving Cruel to me

Posted by: kathleen webb | Jun 19, 2011 6:49:49 PM

please make this law retroactive!! MY HUSBAND HAS BEEN INCARCERATED FOR 6YRS ON A 19 YEAR SENTENCE. ITS BEEN REALLY HARD RAISING OUR CHILDREN ALONE. HE IS CURRENTLY SERVING HIS TIME IN CALIFRONIA AND WE ARE FROM PENNSYLAVANIA. WE HAVENT SEEN HIM IN 5YEARS. I PRAY EVERYDAY THAT HIS SENTENCES GETS REDUCED. THANKS OBAMA!!!!!

Posted by: Tondalaya MANIGAULT | Jun 20, 2011 2:33:05 PM

I really hope they make this law retro active my love and my friend has been locked up for a consipracy charge never got caught with drugs, never had and adult police record. Someone snitching on you can get you 20 years well damn people we better watch out. I had 3 brother killed and none of the murders were hit with 20 years or more in prison but they can spend our tax dollars flying them all around the damn country to one prison to another. It is a very racial law and it needs to stop. Thank God obama did something about it but it would only be fare for this law to affect all that were charged before it was changed. I pray June 30 2011 they make the right choice on this law, And like my soon to be husband and many many others will hopefully go home. I will keep praying for all you famillies out there with loved ones locked down in this crazy crazy system.

Posted by: Nia | Jun 21, 2011 8:49:19 PM

MY MAN WAS SENTENCED 8 1/2 YRS UNDER THE OLD LAW SO I AM HOPING THAT THE LAW GO RETROACTIVE SO HE CAN COME HOME TO ME AND HIS FAMILY.

Posted by: MONIQUE TERRY | Jun 30, 2011 4:16:40 PM

Hello everyone my name is Rhanada and my brother George Steele was sentenced 28yrs when he was 17yrs old. He has 15yrs to serve and and 13yrs on papers, in which I find extremely harsh. I understand what he was doing was wrong but he was only a kid and everyone makes mistakes.I haven't seen him in almost 9yrs because they move him form place to place. Federal prison is no place for nor is spending his whole life in prison. He was a first time offender and had never went to jail before. I miss him so much and I cry every night for him Please make this law retroactive so that my mother, his father, his brothers,and me can see him again, also all of his other family. People change and I believe that everyone deserves a second chance. Please I am begging congress to be fair and just and I have never begged for anything in my life. Thank you for reading this I hope that it at least made you think about changing this law for everyone.God Bless

Posted by: Rhanada Sharkey | Jul 28, 2011 10:05:36 PM

my brother is lock up its so hard for me to talk about it but i gotta share my thoughts my brother is doing so much time it doesnt make since the way they sentence him as if he killed someone you got alot people in prison who have killed some and have lesser time then my brother the law need to change they to make it retroactive so people can come home to they family this is stressful for all for all those who are waitin patiently please freedom them they need a nother chsnce

Posted by: erma | Oct 5, 2011 3:28:58 PM

I have a friend who is a wonderful father he made a huge mistake 4yrs ago and wont be out till 2020, molesters, rapist and baby killers do less time..does that make sense...please pass the retroactive law...please!!

Posted by: Ingrid | Oct 22, 2011 2:12:46 AM

PLEASE RELEASE THOSE WHO ARE PREYED UPON & GO AFTER THOSE WHO ARE REALLY BRINGING THE DRUGS INTO THIS COUNTRY. NO MATTER HOW MANY LOW LEVEL DEALERS YOU LOCK UP IT WON'T STOP THE WAR ON DRUGS OR EVEN DECREASE IT SO WHY WASTE TAXPAYER'S MONEY & PEOPLE'S LIVES ON NON-VIOLENT CRIMES?? THESE PRISONERS NEED EDUCATION, OPPORTUNITIES, REHABILITATION PROGRAMS NOT 10+ YEAR SENTENCES.

Posted by: Jucole | Oct 28, 2011 12:34:40 PM

please make this law retroactive for inmates already serving time...my babydaddy been gone for a little over 2 years we have two daughters that dont know him outside of the prison walls.he also has three boys one about to be in his preteen yrs who needs his daddy to guide him to make the right choices. we all need him home!!!!!!! I know there is a god and he hears my prayers this will be answered sooner than later......JUST KEEP THE FAITH GUYS!!!!!!!!!

Posted by: jasmin minor | Nov 14, 2011 11:49:50 AM

"So if law passes in the Georgia .. What would happen to my boyfriend he was sentence on a drug charge to do 30 do 15 and he has served 3 years going on 4 years next February.. And how will his sentence be cut.."

Posted by: Shanequa | Aug 14, 2013 9:38:01 PM

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