Saturday, April 03, 2010

Some TX federal judges not waiting for Congress to fix crack sentencing disparity

Setting aside federal sentencing guidelines SCOTUS has declared voluntary, several federal judges in Texas including, most recently, Judge Leonard Davis in Tyler, have decided to reduce the disparity in drug sentencing for crack and powder cocaine, reports Jason Trahan at the Dallas News Crime Blog. He quotes an email from a federal public defender who announced:
Judge Davis adopted the current national trend toward equalization of the two forms of the same drug, rejected the Guidelines in their current form, and declared that beginning today and from this point forward, he will sentence Defendants convicted of Federal crack cocaine offenses the same as if the form of the cocaine was powder. Kimbrough was of enormous benefit to the Court in his decision.

This decision had and will have a profound impact in that the first two defendants went from 70-87 months down to 24 months and from 108-135 months to 60 months on the second (mandatory minimum prevented further reduction).

Here's a link to Davis' full opinion. What a welcome breath of fresh air! One hopes other federal jurists will follow suit, and that the 5th Circuit doesn't slap them down. Also, perhaps the US House of Representatives - particularly the Texas delegation - will follow these judges' lead and eliminate the disparity entirely in currently pending legislation.

Hat tip: Sentencing Law & Policy.


Anonymous said...

Crack cocaine the Pimp's best friend.

These days we find there are lots of kids from good homes and good backgrounds who first get involved in drugs, get addicted and then are forced into prostitution as a way of supporting their habits. The popular culture potrays drug use as harmless fun.

Many of the girls say they were introduced to crack by their pimps, who prefer it because the high it provides lasts minutes rather than hours and the girls can spend more time on the streets earning money. Crack also leaves fewer immediately obvious physical effects: heroin addicts often look unwell and find it difficult to attract clients.

Heroin was previously the drug of choice for the pimps because one of its effects is to make you not give a shit about what you are doing. But after a while, the sense of euphoria and oblivion that heroin provides starts to fade and you end up taking it just to feel normal.

Crack is the next step and provides a new buzz. The pimp has a slave he can really count on.

Anonymous said...

Pimps don't run around saying that crack and powder cocaine are the same. They leave that to the liberals. Pimps know the difference and rely solely on crack.

Gritsforbreakfast said...

"They leave that to the liberals."

Liberals like Leonard Davis?! That's stretching the definition of "liberal" far past the point of absurdity.

Anonymous said...

Grits, you're not paying attention. The Senate already passed a bill that reduces the ratio to 18:1 crack/powder and the House will take up that bill when they return in a week or so to DC. Expect it to be on Obama's desk before May 1st. Parity ain't going to happen, but somethin' is better than nothin'.