Mixed Feelings Toward Retroactive Crack Sentence Adjustments

Posted on: June 17th, 2011  |  No Comments

On Wednesday, Attorney General Eric Holder endorsed the retroactive application of the Fair Sentencing Act to offenders involved with crack cocaine offenses. The Washington Post reported that as many as 12,000 inmates nationwide, and 1,200 in the D.C. metro area, received sentences under the old crack cocaine guidelines, which were disproportionately severe compared to powder cocaine.

Mr. Holder recognizes the fundamental unfairness in the old guidelines and feels that many of the inmates already serving the extra harsh sentences should benefit from the major change enacted by President Obama.

“There is simply no just or logical reason why their punishments should be dramatically more severe that those of other cocaine offenders.”

Eric Holder via The Washington Examiner

However, there are many voices opposing retroactivity, citing the fact that many of the crack offenders that would be considered for a sentence reduction are career offenders or had cases involving deadly weapons. David Hiller, the national vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police, is one of the loudest opponents to retroactive sentence reductions. Mr. Hiller believes that reduced sentences will put major offenders back on the streets and will expose communities to continued battles with cocaine dealing.

The U.S. Sentencing Commission is expected to make a decision on retroactivity over the next few months.

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