Thursday, August 13, 2009
Free the Prisoners!
"The Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 was one of Congress's more notable efforts to get tough on drugs. ... Unfortunately, the law was rooted in ignorance about crack's potency, how the drug trade actually worked--and even about the cause of [Len] Bias's death. He actually died from an overdose of powder--not crack-cocaine. ... Why are the penalties for crack and powder so disparate? Largely because legislators were told--and believed--that small-time crack dealers were somehow on a par with big-time powder dealers, recalls Eric Sterling, former counsel to the House Judiciary Committee. ... Sincce 1995 the Sentencing Commission has been trying to set things straight--partly because the law makes no sense and partly because it has hit black communities particularly hard. More than 80 percent of federal crack prosecutuions are of African-Americans, despite evidence that crack use is only slightly higher among blacks than among whites or Hispanics. ... The Supreme Court ... in 2007 ... noted the absurdity of hitting crack dealers harder than the cocaine distributors who supplied them. ... Congress, [Sterling] points out, never intended that so many precious federal resources go toward prosecuting small-time crack dealers", my emphasis, Ellis Cose at Newsweek, 20 July 2009.
Crack prosecutions are like SEC and DOJ white collar criminal prosecutions, the feds prosecute nobodys. Obama can do something now. He can end this nonsense. How? Pardon 1,000 small-time crack dealers. This will subtly tell the DOJ: ignore future crack cases. Let the states prosecute. Instead Obama shills for Skip Gates. Apparently "His" class solidarity trumps "His" race solidarity.