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March 2008
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It is said that the position of the Attorney General is the top lawyer of the land. What an insult that is to the legal profession.

Mukasey Puts Latest Crack in Truth on Drugs – a powerful piece in the Chicago Tribune by Carol Brook, Deputy Director of the Federal Defender Program for the Northern District of Illinois.

This week, my phone has been ringing off the hook.

Mothers, sisters, wives and daughters, voices soft and shaking, ask whether their loved one might be eligible for the new retroactive crack cocaine reduction. When I tell them yes, they cry.

Many of those eligible for sentence reductions have no prior criminal history and were convicted of simple possession. Many more were convicted of distributing just a small amount of crack cocaine one time.

Nonetheless, U.S. Atty. Gen. Michael Mukasey recently told Congress that the early release of these offenders would unleash “violent criminals” onto our streets and pose “significant public safety risks.”

She goes on to give an excellent bit of history on how all this goes back to the Len Bias incident, along with the racial connections, something I covered here before in Len Bias – the death that ushered in two decades of destruction.

Also check out this searing takedown of the Attorney General: Mukasey’s Racist Threats on Changing Crack Sentencing Fall on Deaf Ears by Liliana Segura at Alternet

Some excerpts:

The attorney general has been issuing dire warnings for months about the horrible things to befall society if Congress allows a change in federal sentencing guidelines that could lead to the early release of some 20,000 prisoners convicted for crack cocaine offenses. […]

The attorney general — who some would argue might have better things to do — went before Congress multiple times to try to derail the measure, employing classic White House-style fear-mongering. […]

Anybody with a capacity for common sense can see the problem. But common sense has never had a governing role in the disastrous policies of the 30-year War on Drugs. Racism, on the other hand, has. […]

Nor should it have taken policy makers 20 years to realize that a sentencing disparity of 100 to one is horrible, racially discriminatory policy. But that’s what happens when the people most brutally affected by unjust laws are the same people who are chronically ignored or — when it’s politically expedient — demonized by elected officials. […]

Earth to the AG: You can stop now. No one’s buying it anymore.

Attorney Generals. You’d think that it would be a good idea to have somebody in that position that understood… uh… justice, and maybe… the Constitution. But I’m trying to remember. Have we ever had a decent Attorney General? Seriously.
Seems to me that I recall Isaac MacVeagh (Garfield’s AG) might have been good, but he was around such a short time.

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