Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Supreme Court on Crack

Well, not really, but yes.  Today the nation's highest Court in the land (no pun intended, really!) heard oral arguments in Dorsey v. United States and Hill v. United States, cases that could decide the fate of a small but significant number of federal crack offenders.

FAMM was up early and at the Court to watch the arguments, and we'll have our thoughts on what we heard and how the justices responded up later. Till then, check out this article from the Los Angeles Times, which explains how even the Department of Justice thinks the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 should apply to the so-called "pipeline" defendants:
Shortly after Obama signed the law, Holder's department said the changes applied only to new crimes. Last summer, however, after prodding by Senate Democrats, Holder switched his position and said the new rules for crack cocaine prison terms applied to all who were sentenced after Obama signed the bill, even if their crimes took place two or three years before. ...
"It would be unconscionable" to sentence defendants under the law Congress had repealed as too harsh, said Mary Price, general counsel for Families Against Mandatory Minimums. She said many judges balked at using the stiff mandatory sentences after Congress changed them. "The courts were ahead of the Justice Department on this," she said.