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Congress moves ahead on eliminating the statutory crack:powder cocaine sentencing disparity

Aug 11, 2009 Congress moves ahead on eliminating the statutory crack:powder cocaine sentencing disparity

On May 1, 2009, I blogged about the Justice Department’s efforts on eliminating the statutory disparities between crack and powder cocaine sentencing.

Thanks to Congressman Robert "Bobby" C. Scott (D-Va.) for his introduction of the "Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009." H.R. 3245. Families Against Mandatory Minimums reports that the House Judiciary Committee approved H.R. 3245 by a 16-9 vote on July 29, 2009.

The Office of Defender Services’ website concluded on August 5, 2009, that H.R. 3245’s current wording does not seem to provide for retroactive application of the proposed law. FAMM is urging that retroactivity be added to the legislation.

Following is the text of H.R. 3245, which needs to be read in tandem with 21 U.S.C. section 801 et seq.:

A BILL

To amend the Controlled Substances Act and the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act regarding penalties for cocaine offenses, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

This Act may be cited as the `Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009′.

SEC. 2. ELIMINATION OF INCREASED PENALTIES FOR COCAINE OFFENSES WHERE THE COCAINE INVOLVED IS COCAINE BASE.

(a) Controlled Substances Act- The following provisions of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) are repealed:

(1) Clause (iii) of section 401(b)(1)(A).

(2) Clause (iii) of section 401(b)(1)(B).

(3) The sentence beginning `Notwithstanding the preceding sentence’ in section 404(a).

(b) Controlled Substances Import and Export Act- The following provisions of the Controlled Substances Import and Export Act (21 U.S.C. 951 et seq.) are repealed:

(1) Subparagraph (C) of section 1010(b)(1).

(2) Subparagraph (C) of section 1010(b)(2).

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