The Champion

April 2007 , Page 18 

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Race and Crack Cocaine Offenses: Correcting a Troubling Injustice Post-Booker

By Marcia G. Shein

Since 1987, and the promulgation of the federal Sentencing Guidelines, there has been an egregious sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine offenses. Courts and defense attorneys throughout the country have asserted that the disparity has disproportionately affected minorities. These draconian crack cocaine sentences offer little hope for rehabilitation and provide neither just nor reasonable punishment.

A person with two kilos of crack cocaine can receive a life sentence while that same person in a powder cocaine offense would only receive a sentence of five to six years in custody.1 A life sentence, with no hope for release, for a first offender in a nonviolent crack cocaine offense takes aim at the poor, in effect punishing minorities who tend to be the less advantaged in our society. Since Booker,2 the door is once again open to argue the unreasonableness of a sentencing scheme that creates disparity between crack and powder cocaine offe

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