anguish of a drug war judge
June 22, 2001 12:51 AM   Subscribe

anguish of a drug war judge moral of the story: if an undercover cop asks you to sell crack opposite the white house, just say no. wrong answer gets you framed for 10 years
posted by quarsan (3 comments total)
Forget drug war and mandatory sentencing arguments for a moment, how are the police allowed to entrap someone so blatantly?
posted by MrImpossible at 2:31 AM on June 22, 2001

Another interesting concept in the sentencing guidelines is that crack cocaine is somehow 100 times worse than powder cocaine. Thus, the unfortuante soul on the street with a gram of crack is punished at the same level as the mid-level dealer with 100 grams of coke. There is also an equivalency for weed and meth, I just don't recall them presently. In short though, cocaine is the common currency of the drug sentencing guidelines, which I find to be an odd thing.

Further still, be sure to not have a firearm anywhere on your person, property, or reach if you commit any federal crime. Doing so requires an additional five year mandatory (read no probation) sentence to be served after any other sentence stemming from your crime. This leads to odd cases where someone serves a year or two for their crime, but then still has to serve a sentence greater than the one for their actual crime because a firearm was found to be "in their possession" at the time of the crime.

One more and I'll stop. The US Attorney's office uses something called constructive possession when determining one's culpability under the sentencing guidelines. This allows them to tack on as much cocaine-weight equivalency as they can find in the entire "conspiracy" when recommending a sentencing level. A scenario I've actually witnessed involved a lady who was busted for a rock of crack, but who's estranged husband was busted and linked to a full-blown distribution network. Because she was married to this individual, she was sentenced as if she was dealing in hundreds of kilos of coke even though she had no contact with her husband and had only pled guilty to possession of less than a gram of crack.

In case you are wondering, I am not an attorney, but worked for several years in the clerk's office of a federal appellate court. I can say without equivocation that the sentencing guidelines are an atrocity that the public refuses to recognize. We ruin people and families in far greater fashion than crack can with these sentences.
posted by BoyWithFez at 6:44 AM on June 22, 2001

posted by dong_resin at 11:05 AM on June 22, 2001

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