New Rules for Cocaine Sentencing

Comments

1
Waiting for the fake outrage Republican response once this is signed into law. Something to the tune of "OMG OBAMA IS SOFT ON CRIME!". Maybe that 1.38% Black demographic watching Fox News might drop.

In all seriousness, this is a welcome change.
2
First off, I'm very, very happy to hear about this. The 100-1 ratio was absurd.

That being said, I hate to say it, but a 1-1 ratio really doesn't make sense here. There's more to the disparity than simply targeting black drug users. There's also dosage; but, more to the point, federal drug laws are designed to target major distributors. The truth is that crack is cooked locally, and major drug dealers distribute crack in much smaller quantities than cocaine. It goes cook, sell, cook, sell; on the other hand, comparable distributors will have far greater quantities of powder cocaine on them at any given time.

The 100-1 ratio was grossly unjust, but a 1-1 ratio simply doesn't reflect the way the crack trade operates. The 18-1 ratio makes sense, and really keeps relatively small distributors and simple possessors from triggering the mandatory minimum sentences.
3
I'm curious how crack and cocaine compare gram for gram on getting you high. I doubt it's 18-to-1, but I'm just curious.

@1: Lamar Smith says some stupid shit in the article.
4
Well, then let's up the sentence of white powder to crack and call it a day.
5
Also - it's not that the sentence is 18 times more harsh. It's that it takes 18 times the amount of cocaine to trigger the mandatory minimum sentence than it takes crack. It sounds like a subtle difference, but it's really an important one. At any point below the threshold (now 1 oz of crack), a judge pretty much has discretion to sentence as s/he sees fit. Saying that the average person convicted of crack distribution receives a sentence 18 times longer than the average person convicted of cocaine distribution is inaccurate.
6
"I wish I could be more excited about this"

I wish you could too.

It seems to me that we are plagued by the inability to celebrate and be invigorated by progress, even while noting that the goal isn't met and the work isn't finished.
7
Mind you, white coke heads don't go around shooting up da hood. 

Ever seem America's favorite black comedy show, "The First 48"? I always love the seen when homey is caught with the murder weapon and, $5 and 4 rocks up his ass
8
@6,

And by "we" you mean everyone at The Stranger?
9
Preferred by black people? Like "eight out of ten black people reccomend Crack over the other brand"

"Care for some blow?"
"No thanks, I'm a crack man myself."

Consider revising.
10
don't do drugs, kids.
11
Anne @2 - You don't think the sentencing disparity had anything to do with the modus operandi there? Crack was distributed by the rock because it lessened the risk for the distributors.
12
Now they only have to worry about the SPD.
13
I'm not a big fan of mandatory sentencing anyhow, but this is a step in the right direction.
14
@11: While the mandatory sentencing has an effect, the other issue is that crack is the way you can get high off small and cheap amounts of cocaine. I work in downtown Toronto, where crack isn't as much of a racially-linked drug as it is in the U.S., but it is definitely a poverty-linked drug. I work with a lot of homeless people, and they tell me their pattern generally is panhandle $10, get and use crack, panhandle another $10, etc. The urgency of their addiction makes it too difficult to wait until they've saved up $50-100 and buy larger amounts.
15
@ 11 - Uh...how is that different from what I said? Major distributors keep crack in smaller quantities than coke. I'm sorry, I honestly don't understand your question.
16
@15: He's trying to differentiate chicken and egg. Do distributors keep it in smaller quantities because of the laws, or are the laws the way they are because distributors keep it in smaller quantities?

If it's the former, then changing the laws to be 1:1, cocaine vs crack is the best idea. If it's the latter, then these 18:1 laws might have some justification.
17
If the penalties are so much more stiff, then why not just switch to powder cocaine? Then again, risk mitigation is usually not a crackhead's strong point.

Furthermore, I am not sold on the idea that more black people prefer crack to powder vs. white people. The evidence to the contrary: Spokane.
18
@ 16 - Ah, alright. NaFun's phrasing had me a bit confused, my bad.

And the issue is at least partially that crack CAN be traded in smaller quantities, because it's cooked locally. Cocaine, by contrast, has to be imported, and you're not going to take the risk of importing cocaine unless you're dealing in large quantities. The point is, major drug distributors will have and trade larger quantities of coke at a time; crack is always being cooked and moved. But your comment @ 14 gets to the heart of the matter more succinctly and clearly.

For the record: I think the whole war on drugs is woefully misguided. I'm just saying that, within this misguided enterprise, it doesn't actually make sense to treat crack and coke identically.
19
"the form of cocaine preferred by black people"
that may be the most racist thing i've ever read on slog
20
Slow progress is a damn sight better than none.

And by the way, who do you think are black crack dealers best customers in many cities? Ding Ding Ding! White people.
21
Get ready for more crack murders, naive white Seattle libtards!

Check out the reality of your city, you embarrassingly earnest, naive, libtarded bleeding-heart white Seattle dipshits:

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/394367_ho…
http://tinyurl.com/no5knk

From the article "List of 2008 homicides in Seattle" from the Seattle PI

selected from the list of the 28 Seattle homicides in 2008....

Allen Joplin, Jan. 4 -- black killed by black

De'Che Morrison, Jan. 10 -- black killed by black

Maurice "Moe" Allen Jr., Jan. 26 -- black killed by black

Degene Barecha, Jan. 30 -- black killed by black

Perry Henderson, Feb. 6 -- black killed by black

Stephan Dwaine Stewart, April 2 -- black killed by black

Eldora Earlycutt, July 4 -- black killed by black

James Paroline, July 10 -- white killed by black

Troy Peters, July 22 -- black killed by black

Pierre Lapoint, Aug. 5 -- black killed by black

Jane Kariuki, Oct. 16 -- woman of unknown race killed by black man named Christel D. Murphy

Quincy S. Coleman, Oct. 31 -- black killed by black

Edward McMichael, the "Tuba Man", Nov. 3 -- white killed by multiple blacks

Nathaniel Lee Thomas, Nov. 23 -- black killed by black

So by my count blacks (8% of Seattle) were the killers in at least half (that's at least 50%) of the murders in the Seattle area in 2008. At least five of the other murderers were latinos.

Now let's take a look at 2009!:

http://www.seattlepi.com/local/413827_ho…
http://tinyurl.com/2aa88vd

The link above is to the Seattle PI's article on homicides in Seattle in 2009.

By my count at least twelve of the 21 murders in Seattle in 2009 were committed by blacks, who in total make up only 8% of Seattle.

GUESS WHAT! 2010 is going to turn out JUST AS BAD OR WORSE.

Bottom line:

Black "crime-prone age" males (ages 14 - 45) make up less than 3% of Seattle (remember Seattle is only 8% black) but over half of the murders in Seattle every year are committed by blacks.
22
My son and I heard the un-click of the jail cell door...he has been in a Montana jail for just over a year, and was going up to do a 20-year stretch...now perhaps the one year will be time served? He does not know what is going on because the Montana system seems to have changed protocol on him by sending him back to the more local level jail a day after this was passed...by the way, it was crack or meth, whatever Black guys do...