Thursday, December 20, 2007

Justice for Christmas

Crack is wack.

But is it decidedly wacker than coke, robbery, arson, sexual abuse or manslaughter?

Mandatory minimums suck.

The US Supreme Court finally seems to agree. With the minimums, not necessarily the crack.

And the US Sentencing Commission is right behind them. With the crack, not necessarily the minimums.

Just in time for the holidays.

Maybe we'll get our inmate count under 2 million in'08.

5 comments:

mindful said...

i have absolutely no hope in|for our judicial|justice system.

*sighs*

bda said...

I don't think the ruling will have that much impact. Fed judges already had the authority to go outside the guidelines. So maybe a few more judges who were already inclined to give lighter sentences now will, with less fear of reversal. But this is no revolution. And the court punked out on addressing the actual disparity issue.

the_capital_t said...

Youknow, BDA, I was wondering what you'd have to say about that SC decision.

Frankly, I took it as 1) a victory for common sense in the original case and 2) the impetus to reconcile the gaping disparity in sentencing for crack and cocaine infractions.

Yes, the court did punk out on addressing the latter. But is it possible that they opted to play their part in the machine and let the Sentencing Commission be the hero on that one?

Or, should they have manned up and laid down the law themselves?

bda said...

Good point. I am too pessimistic on this one. It was a victory, albeit a partial one. It does give greater impetus to the larger non-judicial effort to ease sentencing disparities.

But yes, I think clearly the court should have addressed the fundamental 8th amendment issue in the case. The same court that has said corporations have an 8A right to avoid excessive punishment in striking down punitive damages that were many many times compensatory damages should at least give human beings equivalent protection.

See: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/26/opinion/26thu4.html

bda said...

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/26/opinion/26thu4.html