Some Good News from the Supreme Court on Crack Sentencing

Update: Lots of analysis today at the Sentencing Law and Policy blog There was some good news today from the US Supreme Court on the subject of crack cocaine sentencing. It seems like it should be helpful in other kinds of sentencing as well. The following update, forwarded from The Sentencing Project's listserv, sums it up. I'm pleasantly surprised that this passed by a 7-2 margin -- perhaps judges will feel a little freer to give lighter sentences as a result.
SUPREME COURT RULES THAT JUDGES MAY CONSIDER HARSHNESS OF CRACK POLICY IN SENTENCING Decision Comes on Eve of U.S. Sentencing Commission Vote to Reduce Crack Sentences for Prisoners The Supreme Court ruled 7 to 2 today that a federal district judge's below-guideline sentencing decision based on the unfairness of the 100 to 1quantity disparity between powder and crack cocaine was permissible. Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the decision in the case, Kimbrough v. U.S. (06-6330). "At a time of heightened public awareness regarding excessive penalties and disparate treatment within the justice system, today's ruling affirming judges' sentencing discretion is critical," said Marc Mauer, Executive Director of The Sentencing Project. "Harsh mandatory sentences, particularly those for offenses involving crack cocaine, have created unjust racial disparity and excessive punishment for low-level offenses." The Court's decision in Kimbrough comes at a time of unprecedented interest in reforming the mandatory minimum sentencing policy for crack cocaine offenses. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in Congress and hearings are expected early next year. Moreover, tomorrow, the U.S. Sentencing Commission is expected to vote on whether its recent sentencing guideline reduction for crack cocaine offenses will apply retroactively to people currently serving time in prison. Review today's decision in Kimbrough at: http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2007/12/06-6330.pdf
Location: 
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United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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