Sunday, August 2, 2009

House Moves Forward With Bill Eliminating Disparities In Cocaine Sentences

On Wednesday, the House Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would eliminate sentencing disparities between powder cocaine and crack cocaine. The bill was approved by a vote of 16 to 9 and now moves the full House for its consideration. We have been reporting for a long time about this issue, such as the 100 to 1, crack to powder disparity. This disparity is unjust because it unfairly punishes African-American defendants who are more likely to be convicted of crack cocaine offenses than White offenders who are more likely to be arrested with powder cocaine. The current sentencing guidelines treat crack offenders much more harshly than powder cocaine offenders. In 2007, the U.S. Sentencing Commission amended the Sentencing Guidelines to fix this injustice and voted to give retroactive effect to those amendments. At least 3000 inmates have had their sentences reduced because of these sentencing amendments. Just last month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder urged reform of the sentencing laws to deal with this disparity.

We will keep our readers updated on the progress of this legislation.

For more information about the Chicago criminal defense attorneys at Legal Defenders, P.C., visit us at or call us anytime at 1-800-228-7295.

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