One of the reasons to already be unhappy with the choice of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General is his opposition to retroactively applying the minor sentencing reductions that the US Sentencing Commission enacted for federal crack cocaine prisoners. Former prisoner Malakkar Vohryzek has called him out for fear-mongering distortions on the issue over at D'Alliance
. With a little number crunching, Vohryzek finds that in New York City, for example, if every application for a sentencing reduction is approved, all of eight people serving crack cocaine sentences will get out an return to the community a little early. Yet Mukasey has somehow predicted a "crime wave
." Shame on him.
The NAACP's Hilary Shelton -- a stalwart of the campaign to restore college aid eligibility to students who've lost it because of drug convictions
, an effort many of you have read about here -- had strong words for Mukasey (via the Sentencing Law and Policy
The NAACP was both saddened and offended by Attorney General Michael Mukasey's call for Congress to override the decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to apply their May 2007 decision to reduce the recommended mandatory minimum sentencing range for conviction of possession of crack cocaine retroactive to those already in prison. "Attorney General Mukasey's characterization of people currently in prison for crack cocaine convictions, and of the impact that a potential reduction in their sentences could have on our communities, is not only inaccurate and disingenuous, but it is alarmist and plays on the worst fears and stereotypes many Americans had of crack cocaine users in the 1980s," said NAACP Washington Bureau Director Hilary O. Shelton.
"The fact that a federal judge will be called to review every case individually and take into account if there were other factors involved in the conviction, whether it be the use of a gun, violence, death or the defendant's criminal history before determining if the retroactivity can apply, appears to have eluded the Attorney General," Shelton added. "Furthermore, because more than 82 percent of those currently in prison for federal crack cocaine convictions are African Americans and 96 percent are racial or ethnic minorities, the NAACP is deeply concerned at the Attorney General's callous characterization that many of the people in question are 'violent gang members'."
Also quoted on Sentencing Law and Policy, criticism of Mukasey by the New York Times.