Tuesday, August 18, 2009

She Don't Mind She Don't Mind Cocaine

Once again we have a reminder of injustice and disparity in the U.S.A. when it comes to sentencing practices over the past decade or so.

Cocaine has been said to be the drug of the affluent, for which users get a comparatively light sentence in jail.

At least it is light compared to crack cocaine, said to be the drug of the poor, for which a much greater sentence has been given for the same amount.

A recent study shows us that cocaine is found on 90% of our small paper bills, our cash:
The scientists collected U.S. banknotes from 17 U.S. cities and found that larger cities like Baltimore, Boston, and Detroit had among the highest average cocaine levels. Washington, D.C., ranked above the average, with 95 percent of the banknotes sampled contaminated with the drug. The lowest average cocaine levels in U.S. currency appeared in bills collected from Salt Lake City.
(Science Daily). If it were crack cocaine on the cash there could be enough to send almost anyone to jail who handles enough currency so that the residue stays on them until a test on a person's hands is conducted:
For sentencing purposes, the rules equate one gram of crack cocaine to 100 grams of powdered cocaine. Essentially, the judge who sentenced Kimbrough ignored this punitive standard.

"The judge said, this crack/powder thing is just nuts," said Harvard Law School Professor Carol Steiker.

Other judges agree. So does the U.S. Sentencing Commission, which has repeatedly recommended revising the 21-year-old cocaine sentencing rules. So do members of Congress such as Reps. Alcee Hastings, D-Fla., and Sheila Jackson-Lee, D-Texas, who've again introduced a bill to even out cocaine sentences.
(McClatchy). The 100 - 1 ratio has resulted in an unfair prosecution of blacks who make up the bulk of prisoners.

The Supreme Court held that federal district court judges could ignore the unfair 100-1 ratio and do sentences based on a more fair application of law.

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