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November 2006
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On the Crack/Powder Sentencing Disparity

Austin Criminal Defense Lawyer has a good post about the upcoming Congressional hearing on sentencing disparity for crack and powder cocaine. Naturally, Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, has a solution: increase the penalties for powder cocaine. Jamie Spencer properly dismantles Canterbury.

A debate on Wednesday

I’ve been asked to be the moderator for “Tough Trade-Offs: The Drug Legalization Debate”
This debate will take place on Wednesday, November 15 at the College of Law Auditorium at 504 E Pennsylvania Ave in Champaign, Illinois and will feature William Otis, JD, Counselor to the Administrator of the DEA and Bryan Brickner, PhD, author and Illinois drug law reform activist.

William Otis, JD, is a graduate of Stanford Law School and former Special Counsel to then- president George H.W. Bush. After law school, he worked in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice for seven years before becoming head of the appellate division of the U.S. Attorney‰s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia. He was also an informal advisor on criminal justice issues to President Bush when he was Governor. For the past three years, he has been Counselor to the Administrator of the DEA, the official capacity in which he will speak next Wednesday.
Bryan Brickner, PhD, graduated from University of Illinois in 1988 and was a walk-on for the UIUC basketball team. He was commissioned as an Army officer through the Illinois ROTC program and served in Saudi Arabia in 1991. In 1997, he received his doctorate in political science from Purdue University. In addition to NORML, he co-founded IDEAL Reform, a group that is working to pass a medical cannabis bill in Illinois. He is the author of several books including Article the first of the Bill of Rights.

The debate is sponsored by the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Federalist Society and the Coalition of Student-Professionals for Social Change.
I’m really looking forward to this — we so rarely get a chance to see debates on this subject. Of course, as moderator, my job is not to debate (I’ll get that chance some other time), but rather to help both parties get the chance to make their case, so the audience can decide.
If you’re in the area, why not get over to Champaign on Wednesday and check it out. There will be a time for questions from the audience as well. It’ll be a nice intimate setting — the room only seats about 100 people. It’s free and I’m told there will be free food as well.