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October 16, 2007

The Sentencing Project urges retroactivity of USSC crack amendment

As detailed here, the Sentencing Project "has submitted a letter to the United States Sentencing Commission urging it to apply retroactively a crack cocaine sentencing amendment passed this May to defendants previously sentenced for a crack offense."  The full text of the lengthy letter can be accessed at this link, and here is a snippet:

The Commission has opted to make retroactive every amendment to a drug sentence that could be formulaically applied, i.e., in cases where the district court could calculate the new sentencing range using a simple mathematical equation. The Commission has followed the same pattern since it began requesting public comment in 2000.... [The crack amendment] fits squarely in the category of amendments that have been made retroactive.  It can be easily applied by district courts in a formulaic manner. ...

To diverge from its paradigm in this particular instance would be particularly inappropriate given the racial implications of [the crack amendment].  Failing to make the amendment retroactive would perpetuate the already disproportionate effect of the severity of the Guidelines on African American defendants and poor urban neighborhoods.

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October 16, 2007 at 02:08 PM | Permalink


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