As I indicated in prior blogs, Tilem & Campbell is currently challenging the constitutionality of the federal mandatory minimum sentences for federal crack cocaine offenses. We currently have an appeal pending in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and will be filing another shortly on behalf of an African-American appellant.
Our current appeal concerns an Hispanic defendant sentenced to the 10 year mandatory minimum for four federal felonies involving approximately 112 grams of crack cocaine (21 USC 841). We challenged the constitutionality of the 10 year mandatory minimum sentence on three grounds. Briefly, we argued that depriving the defendant of his liberty, a fundamental right, longer than one convicted of a powder cocaine offense involving the same weight violates his equal protection rights under both strict scrutiny and rational basis review.
We also argued that the 100:1 ratio and corresponding grossly disproportionate sentences imposed upon minorities for crack offenses compared to those sentences imposed upon the mostly white offenders convicted of powder cocaine offenses involving the same weight violates the defendant’s Fifth Amendment Equal Protection rights (note, the Equal Protection rights found in the Fifth Amendment apply to the Federal Government while the Equal Protection Clause in the Fourteenth Amendment applies to the States).
Finally, we argued that putting one in a jail for a decade for a crack offense when a powder cocaine offender convicted of an offense involving the same weight would receive less than two years violates the Eighth Amendment.
The above arguments are based on sound reasoning supported by numerous reports prepared the United States Sentencing Commission (the experts in the area of sentencing), the United States Supreme Court’s reasoning in Kimbrough as well as many government leaders as evidenced by the numerous proposed Bills which would abolish the ratio or drastically reduce it.
For more information about a federal sentencing issue, federal drug case, a New York drug case, an appeal or representation on any criminal matter, contact Tilem & Campbell 1-888-ANY-CRIME for a free consultation or visit www.888AnyCrime.com.