Crack Retroactivity - Obama/Edwards For, Hillary Against

Brown And Black Presidential Forum:

Wow, Hillary just came out against retroactivity for crack and powder cocaine sentences. Given how many young men and women languish in the New York prison system due to these harsh sentences, Hillary's position is really astonishing.

The Sentencing Project has long been pushing for reforms in our justice system.

Why we need to reform the system?

The average sentence for a crack cocaine offense in 2003 was more than 10 years; three and a half years longer than the average penalty involving powder cocaine. · 80.8% of people serving time for crack cocaine offenses are African American, despite the fact that more than two-thirds of crack cocaine users in the U.S. are white or Hispanic. · African Americans serve virtually as much time in prison for a drug offense (58.7 months) as whites do for a violent offense (61.7 months). · In 2000, 72% of crack cocaine defendants prosecuted in the federal system were low-level drug offenders who operated as street-level dealers, couriers or lookouts. http://sentencingproject.org/AdvocacyMaterialDetails.aspx?AdvocacyMaterialID=64

Kudos to Obama and Edwards for taking the humane and progressive approach.

Tags: Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, John Edwards, Retroactivity (all tags)

Comments

8 Comments

Re: Crack Retroactivity - Obama/Edwards For, Hil

so your saying the president of the united states should somehow overturn previous court covictions...how?

a general amnesty?

and obama and edwaards said yes?

how do they propose we do this?

Is there any issue these two wont pander to?

this sounds complete ri8dculous!

by holden caulfield 2007-12-01 05:45PM | 0 recs
Re: Crack Retroactivity - Obama/Edwards For, Hil

It is not amnesty - it is about bringing sanity to an unjust justice system.  

by rosebowl 2007-12-01 05:50PM | 0 recs
Re: Crack Retroactivity - Obama/Edwards For, Hil

In the federal system, Congress would pass a law mandating equality in sentencing between crack/powder offenses, and the law would hypothetically mandate the adjustment of existing sentences.  You're right that this is not something the President would be doing by fiat.

For people sentenced in the various state systems, like under New Yorks' ridiculous Rockefeller drug laws, there is naturally nothing the federal government can do.  However, I believe the crack/powder disparity is an artifact of the Federal Sentencing Guidelines in the first place.

Retroactive adjustments are probably the right thing to do in a perfect world, but I hope people understand the political box Democrats are in whenever crime is the issue.  We have a very serious incarceration problem in this country but I have yet to find any way out of it that doesn't involve electoral suicide.  "Tough on crime" still wins elections, to the detriment of our nation.

by Steve M 2007-12-02 12:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Crack Retroactivity - Obama/Edwards

Thanks for posting this

by rikyrah 2007-12-01 08:32PM | 0 recs
Re: Crack Retroactivity -

Please point me in the direction of an official transcript so that I can what she said EXACTLY.

by rikyrah 2007-12-01 08:38PM | 0 recs
Re: Crack Retroactivity -

It was one of the first questions asked of her in the forum.  He said she is against changing sentences retroactively.  She is for no disparity between sentences for the substances from this day forward.

by Piuma 2007-12-01 09:09PM | 0 recs
MORE BS

WHILE I am against the ridiculous war on drugs,  it just seems to me that there is no way that Obama and Edwards could enforce this type of thing.  Did they give any specific proposals, or were they just telling the crowd what they thought they wanted to hear???

by Sandy1938 2007-12-02 01:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Crack Retroactivity

An excellent idea and its too bad that Hillary isn't on board.  As to how you do this, well you pass a law changing the sentencing standards and instruct the various parole boards to use those standards to review past sentences and release prisoners as necessary.  It wouldn't actually be that hard a fix.  This would of course apply to federal cases ( I assume).  Individual states would have to pass similar laws to affect state sentences.

by Demo Dan in Dayton 2007-12-02 04:12AM | 0 recs

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