Monday, December 10, 2007

Common sense sentencing

By Libby

This appears to be very good news. SCOTUS blog is reporting that the high court upheld downward departures in cocaine sentencing. We'll have to wait for the usual legal eagles to dissect the finer points on this decision, but on its face, it would appear to mean that judges will now have much greater discretion in sentencing under the guidelines, which SCOTUS seems to have affirmed are not mandatory if I'm reading this correctly.

Meanwhile, Jeralyn reminds us that, "Tomorrow, the U.S. Sentencing Commission will announce its decision on whether its recent crack cocaine guideline reduction will be retroactive and thus apply to the 19,500 crack offenders now in federal prison." One can only hope the Commission will take this decision as a sign that it's politically safe to do so. The cocaine/crack disparity was enacted in a climate of disinformed panic and has survived for far too long.

No comments: