NEW YORK CRIMINAL DEFENSE FIRM CHALLENGES MANDATORY MINIMUM SENTENCES IN FEDERAL CRACK CASES

October 1, 2008 by Tilem & Associates

New York criminal defense firm Tilem & Campbell has filed Court papers seeking to prevent the use of mandatory minimum sentences in federal crack cases. Citing the reasoning in the recent Supreme Court decision, Kimbrough v United States that permitted Federal District Courts to consider the "100-1" ratio when considering whether or not to sentence below the federal sentencing guidelines in crack (or cocaine base) cases, Tilem & Campbell asked the Courts to take the ruling one step further and declare the mandatory minimums unconstitutional. The "100-1" ratio refers to the fact that under the current federal sentencing scheme, an offender sentenced for cocaine base is likely to get roughly the same sentence as a person sentences for 100 times as much cocaine.

The Supreme Court in Kimbrough found that this "100 -1" ratio was unwarranted based upon the fact that cocaine base (crack) and cocaine are two forms of the same drug with the same active ingredient and the same physiological and psychotropic effects. In addition, citing statistics from the United States Sentencing Commission, the Supreme Court indicated that there was a racial disparity with minorities and in particular African-Americans receiving longer sentences for crack offenses than their white counterparts who were committing cocaine offenses.

Tilem & Campbell filed the challenges in both the US District Court for the Southern District of New York and the US District Court for the Eastern District Court and decisions are awaited from both Courts.

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