In 2010 President Barack Obama implemented the “Fair Sentencing Act”, which lessened the criminal penalty for offenders arrested for possession of crack-cocaine. This law went into effect due to the harsher penalties set against offenders who were arrested for possession of crack-cocaine rather than powdered cocaine. The United States Federal penalties went from an astounding 100 to 1 ratio to an 18 to 1 ratio concerning the weight of the substance. The mandatory minimum for possession of 5 grams of crack-cocaine or more was 5 years. To get a sentence of 5 years or more for possession of powdered cocaine the individual would have had to be in possession of 500 grams or more. Obviously, this is clearly unfair in terms of sentencing. Someone who is caught with 5 grams of crack-cocaine could easily be holding that amount for personal use due to an addiction. If one is in possession of500 grams of powdered cocaine it seems as though that it may not just be their personal stash. In other words, this is a very fair and balanced Act that Obama put into effect in 2010. The recent discrepancy is not over the logistics of the law, but rather if it should apply to individuals who offended before the act was passed whom were still not sentenced.
The Supreme Court ruled 5 to 4 infavor of granting lower sentences to un-sentenced individuals who offended before the act was put into place. This is another step taken toward lessening the blow to those who are arrested for crack-cocaine offenses. Crack-cocaine arrests have been found to be far more likely among black offenders. This Act helps to end the talk of sentencing being racially biased due to a high number of black offenders getting larger sentences for having lesser amounts. This latest ruling could be potentially helping thousands of offenders receive more lenient sentences. Those who did not agree with the new repeal to the act argued that offenders who were arrested before the act was put into place should not be eligible to receive its benefits. Those in opposition are in all likelihood the same individuals who held a stance against the original act in August of 2010. Simply put, their point of view was that they cannot vote for an act that helps criminal offenders receive lesser sentences for breaking Federal and State Law. In both cases that type of thinking was out voted and the original Act and its changes were implemented. I believe that the “Fair Sentencing Act” and the latest decision, which grants judges the opportunity to implement the Act to cases where an individual was arrested before the initial Act was voted upon, is a step in the right direction.
Research has shown that neither crack-cocaine or powdered cocaine is more addictive than the other. The difference between the two forms of cocaine is miniscule at best. It is my personal stance that further investigation should be put into place in order to even the ratio completely to 1 to 1. Making sentencing for crack-cocaine and powdered cocaine completely the same.
By Corey D.
Filed under: Featured, Latest News · Tags: 2010, act, Addiction, arrested, arrests, august, cocaine, Crack Cocaine, Fair Sentencing Act, grams, judges, offenders, powdered cocaine, president, President Obama