VIP Justice

The latest Civil Discourse comic goes after the absurd 100-to-1 disparity in sentencing laws for crack cocaine. It goes like this: Trafficking crack cocaine (cheap and used primarily by the poor) can get you the same prison sentence as dealing 100 times the amount of powder cocaine (much more expensive).

There probably isn't a better example of the inequality in our criminal justice system and overzealous "War on Drugs."

What if all drug crimes were treated this way? You would have to deal 100 times the amount of high-potency marijuana that looks like a High Times centerfold to get the same sentence as the person caught with the brown dirtweed they grew in under their bed.

Perhaps we could expand this kind of sentencing disparity to ALL crimes to streamline the system. We could call it "VIP Justice" and have more lenient sentences for laws broken by wealthy people. Instead of "Three Strikes You're Out" they would face "Three Strikes No Big Deal - You'll Have Another Chance At Bat Next Inning" laws.

Or we could fix the 100-to-1 crack sentencing laws. Either way.

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Anonymous

How about working to get Charles Rangels bill to permit expungement of federal crimes passed

Anonymous

The disparity is clear. What is not clear is the legislation needed to remedy the problem.
I heard one out of one hundred American adults are in prison. This is the highest in the world. The cost per prisoner is in excess of 60,000 (2005) dollars a year. There are non-violent convicts that could be released on supervised probation instead of being a police state burden. Otherwise the Corporatizing of prisons will be a bigger nightmare than it already is.

Anonymous

The fact are that drug laws address a symptom rather than the cause of the problem. If the medical field addressed illness in the same fashion, then we'd have the equivalent of how Burma's junta addresses their current crisis in the cyclone struck region. The concern we should look at is that there are vested interests that don't want the problem resolved, like the suppliers and the very people who are supposed to intradict it. They both have similar budgets, and they seem to work with each other to keep both alive. One group allows a percentage to be stopped before it gets to market, and the other side only stops that percentage in order to maintain their positions, since eradification would put both parties out of business. What we have going on is a scam created to benefit a small group of people on both side, providing them with power and excuses to deny liberties to those around them. By eliminating the current drug laws, we would put many wealthy and not so wealthy people out of business, from those to police the problem, the ones who build the prisons, the ones who impliment the programs, the ones who prosecute the "crimes", the ones who police the activity, the ones who defend those charged, the courts that hear the cases, and the list goes on and on. Everyone gets a piece, and if they stop enforcing these laws, those people would be in the unenployment line. Let's call this what it is, a scam, pure and simple and the tax payers are the suckers in the end.

Anon

I live in Alabama and wrote to U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (http://sessions.senate.gov/contact.htm) (ACLU form letter) encouraging him to support legislation correcting the 100 to 1 sentencing disparity regarding crack vs. powder cocaine.

His reply was somewhat surprising. He agreed the law should be changed, that he had been working toward the change for some time now.

Jeff Sessions says he has been working to make the penalty for powder cocaine 100 times greater as a response to the disparity. He claims this would make the penalties equal and fair.

Wonder how much Jeff's friends have made off drugs (Oliver North & Rush Limbaugh) and the required legal defense (TRIAL LAWYERS) if arrested???

Some people use drugs, are arrested, and cannot vote for a President; while others use drugs, are protected from prosecution, and BECOME the President.

Wonder how much money the trial lawyers give ol' Jeff to have that opinion anyway?

Seems so unjust that Sessions is PAID to FORCE his idiotic opinions on the rest of us.

I would vote for Rev. Wright.

Paris Texas

I live in Paris Texas. I know a young man, Keyon Mitchell who is currently serving life plus 5 years in prison for drug conspiracy. This young man was a college student about a month away from graduating from college with a bachelors degree. He had no prior arrests. The most shocking thing about his case is he was never found to have any drugs or weapons. There was no video, no informants. Nothing. It was all based on hearsay which they said was allowed in federal trials. Keyon was not among the original indictments in this case. A group of men with numerous prior arrests were told if they came up with the name of their drug lord, they would get a break so naturally they came up with a name. It happens all the time here in Paris. There is a 17 year old in Paris, Kerria Gunn, accused of a burglery. He has no prior arrests and his arrest is based on the fact that he had on a red shirt during a traffic stop and the cashier at the store said the robber had on a red shirt. There was another robbery after the teen was arrested and the cashier identified that person as the prior robber but yet the youth remains in jail. This young man is on a half million dollar bond which is crazy and apparently has been told by the Lamar County DA Gary Young that he will get life in prison but if he comes up with the names of some drug dealers and agree o testify that they are drug dealers, he will be given 30 years. These things affect the civil liberties of us all because if you can be sent to prison for life just because the DA can get someone to say you are a drug dealer, whats next. Something is terribly wrong with the criminal justice system. Its not about justice. Its about giving the longest sentences possible and getting as many people locked up as possible by any means necessary. And at the root of it is MONEY.

keyarah finney

i just say paris police is a peice of bull shit and this is why:

There is a 17 year old in Paris, Kerria Gunn, accused of a burglery. He has no prior arrests and his arrest is based on the fact that he had on a red shirt during a traffic stop and the cashier at the store said the robber had on a red shirt. There was another robbery after the teen was arrested and the cashier identified that person as the prior robber but yet the youth remains in jail. This young man is on a half million dollar bond which is crazy and apparently has been told by the Lamar County DA Gary Young that he will get life in prison but if he comes up with the names of some drug dealers and agree o testify that they are drug dealers, he will be given 30 years. These things affect the civil liberties of us all because if you can be sent to prison for life just because the DA can get someone to say you are a drug dealer, whats next. Something is terribly wrong with the criminal justice system. Its not about justice. Its about giving the longest sentences possible and getting as many people locked up as possible by any means necessary. And at the root of it is MONEY.

A MOM WHO CARES

TO GARY YOUNG
I WOULD LIKE TO SAY GOD BLESS YOU
AND HOW DO YOUR WIFE SLEEP NEXT TO A DRY PEACE OF DIRT HOW CAN SHE ROLL OVER AND LOOK AT YOU.YOU HAVE KNOW HEART IT'S DRY NO BLOOD FLOWING THROUGH THAT HEART OF YOURS,PLEASE ANYONE OUT THUR PLEASE GET LAMAR COUNTY SOME HELP THE LAW IS BREAKING THE LAW AND NOTHING BEEN DONE ABOUT IT TO THE FBI WHAT ARE YALL DOING ABOUT THIS GARY YOUNG.I'M GONNA FIGHT UNTIL I TAKE MY LAST BREATH IF YOU WANT TO HELP GET GARY YOUNG OUT OF THAT COURT HOUSE HELP FIGHT STAND AS ONE THIS GOT TO STOP WE GOT TO STOP IT GARY YOUNG WHERE'S YOUR HEART AT IS IT HANGING FROM THE TREE WHERE YOU TRYING TO HANG ALL POOR BLACKS AND WHITES FROM. WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE ARE YOU FROM, PLEASE GO BACK: BUT YOU WILL DO SOME TIME IN JAIL WHEN I'M FINISH I'M STARTING AT THE WHITE HOUSE WERE COMING FOR YOU AND THE REST OF THE GAME

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