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In federal court today, low-level crack dealers and first-time offenders for five grams of crack cocaine will receive a five-year mandatory minimum sentence but 500 grams of powder cocaine to garner the same sentence. Where as fifty grams of crack cocaine will garner a 10-year mandatory sentence but it would require 5,000 grams of powder cocaine for the 10-year mandatory sentencing.

On March 17, 2010, with unconditional support from President Obama, a bill championed by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), S.1789, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2009, was unanimously approved by the US Senate to reduce the disparity from 100:1 to 18:1.

The Sentencing Project:

After decades of debate, research and recommendations, the United States Congress has approved legislation to increase fairness in sentences for crack cocaine offenses. The House of Representatives today passed, under a suspension of the rules, a bill passed by the Senate in March which would reduce the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. The bill now awaits the President's signature.

UPDATE: For more in-depth round up of the effect of the existing law, please read the diary: The War on Drugs, Race & Sentencing Disparities
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Criminal Injustice Kos along with the at large daily kos community has been advocating for the passage of the Fair Sentencing Act and today we can say our efforts have paid off and we are moving a step in the right direction eliminating the 100 to 1 sentencing disparity to 18 to 1 when this bill is signed by the President.

ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **ACTION ** ACTION

I think it is important to say thank you to Sen. Richard Durbin [D-IL], the sponsor of this Bill by calling his office at (202) 224-2152. Also, give the following 23 co-sponsoring Senators some love for co-signing and supporting this bill openly.

Sherrod Brown [D-OH]
Roland Burris [D-IL]
Benjamin Cardin [D-MD]
Thomas Coburn [R-OK]
John Cornyn [R-TX]
Christopher Dodd [D-CT]

Russell Feingold [D-WI]
Dianne Feinstein [D-CA]
Al Franken [D-MN]
Lindsey Graham [R-SC]
Charles Grassley [R-IA]
Thomas Harkin [D-IA]

Orrin Hatch [R-UT]
Edward Kaufman [D-DE]
John Kerry [D-MA]
Amy Klobuchar [D-MN]
Patrick Leahy [D-VT]
Carl Levin [D-MI]

Bernard Sanders [I-VT]
Jefferson Sessions [R-AL]
Arlen Specter [D-PA]
Jim Webb [D-VA]
Sheldon Whitehouse [D-RI]


ACTION ** ACTION ** ACTION **ACTION ** ACTION

The passage of this Bill will not impact the fate of people currently serving time for low-level crack cocaine offenses. The Criminal InJustice Kos community requests your time to call Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senator Majority Leader Reid and the President, to apply the sentencing adjustments mandated in the Fair Sentencing Act retroactively.



Thank you and please join us on Wednesdays at 7pm ET at Criminal InJustice Kos, a weekly series devoted to exposing and taking action against inequities in the US criminal justice system.

Originally posted to ThisIsMyTime on Wed Jul 28, 2010 at 01:03 PM PDT.

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