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January 12, 2006

Crack on the Mind

I can totally relate:

About the best television I've seen in forever. Last night, Larry King interviewed James Frey, author of factually-challenged best-selling "memoir", "A Million Little Pieces." First off, you have the spectacle of a public person insisting that he did too do lots of crack and spend months in jail and so on and so forth. Then you have a website that usually exposes the lurid pasts of public people actually exonerating the guy, and depicting him as a nice middle-class boy, struggling with addiction.

In connected, and encouraging, news, the blatantly racist, highly disproportionate sentences given for crack possession are apparently going down:

The study examined 24 crack-cocaine cases in which judges explicitly discussed the reasoning behind their sentencing decisions in the context of the 2005 Supreme Court ruling that allowed them to use the sentencing guidelines as advisory rather than as requirements.

In 21 of the 24 cases, the judges sentenced defendants to less time than they likely could have received under the sentencing guidelines. Under the guidelines, for instance, a person who possesses five grams of crack cocaine will get the same sentence as someone who sells 500 grams of powder cocaine -- although there is little physiological difference in the two.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican, said he intended to introduce a bill this year that will propose changing the law to reduce the disparity between the amounts of crack cocaine and powder cocaine necessary to give a defendant the same sentence. He and Utah Republican Sen. Orrin Hatch co-authored a bill in 2003 that would have reduced the disparity to 20-to-1 -- from 100-to-1 -- but it got little support.

Well, it's something.

January 12, 2006 | Permalink

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Comments

This equivalence between weights of powder and crack cocaine thing strikes me as a little foolish, although I understand the argument about disparate impact. Do the weights for other substances, say LSD (virtually weightless) or meth also have to be equivalent? Also the disparate impact argument ignores the disparate impact of crack selling.

Posted by: slickdpdx | Jan 12, 2006 2:26:32 PM

Iread the oarody column in the NY Times and had NO IDEA what it was a parody of.

So apparently I don't watch enough Oprah. But I suspect that you read on drunk/addict's story you've read them all.

On the other hand there is NO reason for the rest of us to be forced to pay money to incarcarate addicts, when there are cheaper more humane ways to deal with them

Posted by: Matthew Holt | Jan 12, 2006 2:53:50 PM

Speaking of CRACK, Marion Barry is now dealing with a positive cocaine test.

Posted by: Fred Jones | Jan 12, 2006 5:30:57 PM


Jeff Sessions was great in "Deliverance," and Alabama would be a better place had he stuck with his banjo.

Posted by: ats | Jan 14, 2006 4:29:31 PM

Space Exploration Benefits Our World, costs too much

Posted by: 2002 album family photo | Aug 29, 2007 2:35:57 PM

People are less moral than 30 years ago

Posted by: texas | Sep 3, 2007 10:13:22 AM

Global Warming Isn't A Threat

Posted by: island | Sep 24, 2007 4:19:49 PM

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Posted by: judy | Sep 29, 2007 11:27:55 AM

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