Thursday, June 30, 2011

Comment: Will Commission Do What Obama Will Not Do?

ColorLines notes that a decision is expected today from the U.S. Sentencing Commission on whether or not to apply provisions of the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively. The Act ended “mandatory minimums” and reduced the disparity in crack / cocaine sentences from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1. In addition to favoring the passage of the Act, this blog has long held that it should be applied retroactively. More specifically - at a minimum - first time, non-violent offenders who have served sentences past the 18-to-1 mark and maintained a decent prison record should be released immediately - by judges or the President.

In campaign mode, President Obama and Attorney General Holder expressed concern over the fairness of previous crack / cocaine sentencing guidelines. In addition, they inflamed audiences with the rhetoric of racial discrimination and disparate impact. In governing mode, Obama and Holder have showed just about zero interest in anything like a clemency program to address the supposed injustices. Most of the heavy work has been done by Congress (which passed the Act) and, now, the Commission, which is considering the issue of retro-activity.

An indication of the pitiful state of affairs is the fact that ColorLines observes Holder's recent testimony before the Commission seemed - to one observer - like a "signal" that it might be an "important issue" for the Attorney General! See full story here.

FAMM has an excellent information sheet on this issue here.

UPDATE: The Commissions has voted in favor of retroactively! See details here! Julie Stewart of FAMM notes that today’s vote only affects the portion of a prisoner’s sentence driven by the sentencing guidelines. She says, “The ball is now in Congress’s court. To finish the job, Congress must now make the mandatory minimum sentence for crack cocaine retroactive.”

1 comment:

JorgXMcKie said...

Wait a minute. You expect Obama and Holder to "do something" related to fulfilling campaign promises/rhetoric? Why? Do you have an example where they have done this?

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