ACLU Cheers USSC Decision to Apply New Drug Sentencing Guidelines Retroactively

December 11, 2007 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union today applauded the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s decision to apply recent changes in federal crack cocaine sentencing guidelines retroactively. Thousands of offenders were sentenced under the previous guidelines, which unfairly and erroneously required them to serve more than the mandatory minimum sentence required by law. Thanks to the USSC’s decision, such offenders will now have the opportunity to appear before the court and have their case reviewed by a judge.

The following can be attributed to Jesselyn McCurdy, legislative counsel for the ACLU Washington Legislative Office:

“The USSC has put the sentencing guidelines back where they should be, in line with the federal mandatory minimums. Better yet, their decision to apply the guidelines retroactively means justice for offenders sentenced under the previous guidelines, who may no longer have to serve more time than required by law. Thanks to the USSC for finally correcting a 20-year-old inconsistency in the sentencing guidelines.”

Today’s decision comes just one day after the Supreme Court’s decision in Kimbrough v. U.S., which emphasized the advisory nature of sentencing guidelines and that judges can disagree with the 100 to 1 disparity between crack and powder cocaine by sentencing offenders below the guidelines.

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