Justice Department officials this morning endorsed for the first time proposed legislation that would eliminate vast sentencing disparities for possession of powdered versus rock cocaine, an inequality that civil rights groups say has disproportionately affected poor and minority defendants.
Newly appointed Criminal Division chief Lanny A. Breuer told a Senate Judiciary Committee panel this morning that the Obama administration would support bills to equalize punishment for offenders accused of possessing the drug in either form, fulfilling one of the president’s campaign pledges.
Breuer explicitly called on Congress to act this term to “completely eliminate” the sentencing disparity.
The issue has received attention from both political parties, but never before have top law enforcement officials backed legislative reforms, according to drug control analysts.
Again, the devil is in the details, but this is a good step.
What’s also interesting is what is missing from the article. No law enforcement big shots saying that we should keep things as they are.
Everyone interviewed, including Senator Durbin, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton, representatives of FAMM, former DEA head Asa Hutchinson, and Miami police chief John Timoney, supported sentencing reform.