In continuing with my commentary on federal mandatory minimum sentencing for drug offenses and Tilem & Campbell’s challenge to the constitutionality of such sentences, it’s of paramount importance to point out other, influential groups and individuals who are also opposed to mandatory minimums for drug offenses. As previously discussed, former Presidents Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon were all opposed to mandatory minimums for drug offenses and, at Nixon’s urging, in 1970, Congress abolished almost all mandatory minimum sentencing for federal drug offenses with the passage of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970.
These former Presidents were not, and are not, the only influential individuals opposed to such sentences. With regard to the Boggs Act of 1951 and the Narcotics Control Act of 1956 (both of which contained draconian mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug offenses), a Senate Judiciary Subcommittee found that 92 percent of federal prison wardens who responded were opposed to the mandatory minimum sentences, and 97 percent were opposed to the prohibition against probation or parole. Of the probation officers who responded, 83 percent were opposed to mandatory minimums while 86 percent were opposed to prohibition against probation or parole. Of the federal judges who responded, 73 percent were opposed to mandatory minimums, and 86 percent were opposed to the prohibition against probation or parole.
Many members of law enforcement also supported the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 and its elimination of the mandatory minimum sentences found in the Boggs Act of 1951 and the Narcotics Control Act of 1956. According to then Congressman William L. Springer (R Ill.): “It is the opinion of most law enforcement people that the harsh mandatory sentences in narcotics law have been a hindrance rather than an aid to enforcement.”
Tilem & Campbell is vigorously challenging the constitutionality of the current mandatory minimum sentences for crack cocaine offenses and the corresponding 100:1 powder cocaine/crack cocaine ratio. It is this ratio that brings about tremendously longer sentences for blacks and minorities convicted of crack offenses than their white counterparts convicted of powder cocaine offenses involving equal weight. If you are currently charged with a crime and are in need of a federal criminal defense attorney or if you have been convicted of a crime and which to discuss various post conviction remedies such as an appeal, contact Tilem & Campbell at 1-888-ANY-CRIME or visit us on the web at www.888AnyCrime.com.