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December 20, 2007

Bill introduced to overturn USSC's crack retroactivity decision

As detailed in this press release from House member Lamar Smith, there is now officially a bill in Congress to overturn the US Sentencing Commission's decision to make its new crack guidelines retroactive.  Here are excerpts from the press release:

Ranking Member Lamar Smith (R-TX) [has] introduced legislation to protect American communities from convicted crack offenders.  This bill ensures that an estimated 20,000 criminals will not be released before serving their full prison sentence.

“The American people have the right to know that their homes and communities are safe from dangerous criminals and convicted crack cocaine traffickers,” stated Ranking Member Smith.  “The decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to apply lowered penalties for crack cocaine offenders retroactively undermines the efforts of law enforcement officials across the nation and raises serious public safety concerns.”...

“To protect the American people and combat the dangerous drug trade, we must ensure that convicted criminals remain behind bars,” concluded Smith. “This bill keeps communities safe from crack cocaine offenders by prohibiting the early release of 20,000 criminals.”

Additional members of the House Judiciary Committee joining Ranking Member Smith in sponsoring this bill include Crime Subcommittee Ranking Member Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Representatives Steve Chabot (R-OH), Howard Coble (R-NC), J. Randy Forbes (R-VA), Trent Franks (R-AZ), Elton Gallegly (R-CA), Jim Jordan (R-OH) and F. James Sensenbrenner, Jr. (R-WI).

As the press release highlights, the only supporters of this bill as of this writing are Republicans.  Indeed, with Democrats now controlling both houses of Congress, I doubt that this bill will get passed.  However, one notable Democratic Senator, Hillary Clinton, has expressed her opposition to making the new crack guidelines retroactive.  So, this bill already has the tacit support of at least one prominent Democratic Senator.  It will be interesting to see if she or someone else proposes a similar bill in the Senate and also whether this bill ever gets a hearing or serious traction in the legislative process.  Stay tuned.

Here is an abridged account of some of my prior blog coverage on this issue and its politics:

December 20, 2007 at 12:58 PM | Permalink


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Why dont the Republicans introduce a bill to keep milk prices down so single moms can feed their kids? Why dont they introduce a bill to get us out of this war?

They have lived for years gaining office by putting fear into the hearts of americans.

I wonder if Bush would sign this bill if it ever got to him?

Posted by: | Dec 20, 2007 2:03:52 PM

What assholes. When I read it was only Republicans that supported the bill, my immediate thought was "I bet Hillary will, too." Then I read the next line.

Putting fear into the hearts of American (primarily women re: dangers facing their children) is how to control America. Local nightly news broadcasts work in tandem to keep people in fear. I always get bashed for saying this, but this threaten the children and then say you will remove the threat "for the children" tactic is an unfortunate and unexpected consequence of the 19th Amendment. When the maternal instict to protect children controls 50% of the voting base politicians take advantage of it.

20,000 crackheads about to be released from federal prison into your neighborhood to be near your children sounds bad for children. Thus, it's easy to attack.

Real jusice and real freedom mean children get killed. That's the bottom line.

Posted by: bruce | Dec 20, 2007 2:22:46 PM

They have the wrong priorities. A person staying in jail 10 years instead of 8 means nothing. I wish they put this much energy into things that effct the everyday life of americans.

Posted by: | Dec 20, 2007 2:25:55 PM

They are trying to protect our children, yeah right. When murderers, child pornographers and child molesters get less time in prison something is wrong. Drug dealers get more time than murderers. Come on! It's bad enough that the change that was made was small,but then you want to take away the small change that they are even getting. That's why we need a change, because as long as a Republican runs things there will be no changes. It amazes me that when other drug laws were made retro no one came up with a bill to change that retroactivity bill, now that a bill might help minorities a little they want it changed. This is just another form of slavery for us minorities. We have little hope of ever being the land of the free.

Posted by: jubria | Dec 20, 2007 2:46:38 PM

"the only supporters of this bill as of this writing are Republicans. Indeed, with Democrats now controlling both houses of Congress, I doubt that this bill will get passed."

Have you been paying any attention to the Reid/Pelosi-led Congress, Doug? I wouldn't trust the Dem "leadership" any further than I could throw them.

Posted by: JDB | Dec 20, 2007 3:46:39 PM

JDB: the Democratic leadership is that in name only. So, you are right. They talk a good game but accomplish nothing.
Jubria: do not be so quick to say that child pornographers, etc. get less time. Take a look at 18 USC 2422. A mere attempt in an enticement case, first time offender, ten year mandatory minimum. Many statutes under Title 18 contain absurd and draconian sentences. The answer is doing away with mandatory minimums and trusting the bench and the appeals courts. Not the idiots in Congress.
Republicans: duh-uh. Of course it is the Republicans. As to Bush signing the bill, unless it has only one syllable words, he will not understand it.

Posted by: bernie kleinman | Dec 21, 2007 10:58:03 AM

i hate you guys

Posted by: | Nov 7, 2008 3:30:11 PM

its to many people sitting in jail for selling drugs for the rich people. why not get the people thats bringing it over here, our jails are running over with drugs dealers and our taxes are getting higher and higher. why not put some of the people coming here un leagle in jail let our men go free they,ve done thier time

Posted by: k harrington | Apr 14, 2009 12:23:17 PM

Giving first protection is initially on of the most necessary act to do.

Posted by: wine bags | Jul 25, 2011 11:43:50 AM

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