The Leadership Conference is working diligently to see that Tom Perez is confirmed as U.S. Secretary of Labor. Perez is an eminently qualified public servant and consensus builder who has dedicated his career to ensuring that all individuals are treated fairly and have the opportunity to succeed. He has served with integrity and distinction at the local, state and national level, compiling an outstanding record of achievement.
House Judiciary Committee Approves Cocaine Sentencing Reform Bill
July 30, 2009 - Posted by The Leadership Conference
Yesterday, the House Judiciary Committee passed 16-9 the Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act, introduced by Rep. Bobby Scott, D. Va., which will eliminate the disparity between federal crack cocaine and powder cocaine sentencing.
Under current law, a person convicted of possessing five grams of crack receives a mandatory minimum sentence of five years in prison. To receive the same sentence for powder cocaine, a person would have to possess 500 grams of powder – 100 times the amount of crack – even though both drugs are pharmacologically the same.
Both the Supreme Court and the U.S. Sentencing Commission have recognized the unfairness in this disparity and have acted to reduce it. Only Congress is able to eliminate the disparity.
The Act sets the sentencing trigger at 500 grams for both types of cocaine. In addition, it eliminates the mandatory minimum sentence of five years for simple possession of crack cocaine.
The Senate is expected to introduce bipartisan legislation to eliminate the disparity in cocaine sentencing soon.