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November 26, 2007

Inside the Beltway views on crack amendment retroactivity

In addition to the Justice Department, some members of Congress have expressed opposition to the US Sentencing Commission making its new crack guidelines retroactive.  In an letter to the USSC Chair earlier this month (and available for download below), 13 members of the House urged the USSC "not to apply this amendment retroactively."  Avid sentencing fans will not be surprised by the names appearing on this letter.

Download crack_powder_retroactivity_letter.pdf

Meanwhile, today's Washington Post has this new editorial urging the USSC to make the new guideline retroactive and urging further congressional action on crack sentences.  Here is how it starts:

This month, a measure of rationality was injected into federal sentencing guidelines when more lenient penalties for crack cocaine became the law of the land.  The new guidelines will affect defendants convicted in the future, but they also should be made retroactive.  That would bring some measure of equity to thousands of offenders -- roughly 85 percent of them African American men -- already serving unjustifiably long prison terms.

Some recent related posts:

November 26, 2007 at 10:20 AM | Permalink


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An editorial in the Washington Post applauds new guidelines drafted by the U.S. Sentencing Commission for offenses related to possession of crack cocaine. These more lenient sentences bring the penalties for crack cocaine closer to parity with those fo... [Read More]

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