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NCJ Number: 185482 Find in a Library
Title: Cocaine Sentencing and Bad Chemistry: A Review and Solution
Journal: Judicature  Volume:84  Issue:2  Dated:September-October 2000  Pages:86-89
Author(s): Morris S. Zedeck
Date Published: 2000
Page Count: 4
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article reviews sentencing policies for persons convicted of dealing in crack cocaine.
Abstract: The article claims that the definition of crack cocaine is vague and the harsh punishment for dealing in it, in comparison to other forms of cocaine, is both scientifically unfounded and unfair to African-American defendants. The article attempts to clarify the terms used to describe the various forms of cocaine and offers a solution to remove any ambiguity in sentencing for dealing in cocaine in its various forms. It also addresses the disparate effect that harsher punishment for those dealing in crack cocaine than those dealing in cocaine hydrochloride has had on the African-American community, and raises the related issue of whether crack really is, as implied by the 100:1 ratio used in the U.S. Sentencing Commission (USSC) Guidelines Manual, 100 times more dangerous than cocaine hydrochloride. The article recommends that: (1) When Congress and the USSC intend to differentiate cocaine base from cocaine hydrochloride, they should so state explicitly; (2) All forms of cocaine base, irrespective of their appearance, should be termed cocaine base; and (3) The USSC should remove the definition of crack from the guidelines manual so the courts will not have to deal with imprecise and potentially misleading terminology. Notes
Main Term(s): Courts
Index Term(s): Black/African Americans; Cocaine; Controlled Substances; Crack; Race-punishment relationship; Racial discrimination; Sentencing disparity; Sentencing guidelines; US Sentencing Commission
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