The U.S. Supreme Court today made crack cocaine sentencing slightly fairer by ruling that District Court Judges should apply the changes Congress made to lower drug weight calculations for the triggering of a Mandatory Minimum Sentence in the Fair Sentencing Act to those sentenced after the act was passed but committed the crime earlier. The Fair Sentencing Law changed what the originally used ratio of 100 to 1 weight of crack to cocaine was amending the weight ratio to 18 to 1.
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Your favorite Clearwater Criminal Defense Lawyer still believes the ratio is unfair as the cocaine weight should not depend on how the cocaine is cooked, and crack sentencing tends to hit minorities at a higher level of incarceration creating sentencing disparity for similar quantities of drugs in Largo, St. Petersburg and Tampa Florida. In fact as I described in this Blog last year although the rates of drug use for whites and blacks are the same black are ten times as likely to go to prison.
The opinion is limited, but Justice Breyer wrote, “Finally, we can find no convincing reason why Congress would have wanted these unfair consequences.”
And the opinion also noted that the Federal Sentencing Guidelines are advisory, leading a Clearwater Criminal Attorney to hope Judges will keep pushing to reverse the unfair consequences of mandatory minimum sentences giving Judges more discretion to provide fair sentencing based on the facts of the case and other relevant factors for aggravation or mitigation of the sentence.