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U.S. Senate unanimously votes to reduce crack:powder disparity to 20:1

Mar 19, 2010 U.S. Senate unanimously votes to reduce crack:powder disparity to 20:1

Yesterday, the United States Senate unanimously voted to reduce the federal crack:powder sentencing disparity from 100:1 to 20:1 as to certain quantities of cocaine. The bill is S.1789. See the full text of the passed bill here. The next step is for the House to vote on the measure.

The sentencing disparity reduction does not seem to apply to transactions involving over 280 grams of cocaine base, which is also commonly referred to as crack. Consequently, this legislation does not seem to provide relief for those charged as drug kingpins involving cocaine base.

The legislation does not provide retroactive relief to those already convicted for cocaine base sentences.

In any event, this legislation looks like a move in the right direction to chip away at the years-long crack:powder sentencing disparity, to hopefully one day get retroactive relief in the disparity, and to perhaps convince President Obama to start giving some retroactive relief in reducing sentences to narrow the sentencing disparity.

ADDENDUM: Thanks to Sentencing Law and Policy (here and here) and FAMM for posting on this story.

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