Judiciary Committee Approves Bill Ending Crack/Powder Disparity
For Immediate Release
July 29, 2009
WASHINGTON, D.C.: Families Against Mandatory Minimums President Julie Stewart released the following statement after the House Judiciary Committee approved legislation to eliminate the disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences:
“Justice won today. Today’s vote represents another step to restoring basic fairness to our sentencing laws and to fulfilling the Constitution’s promise of equal justice under the law. We urge the full House to act quickly on this measure.”
The legislation, H.R. 3245, known as The Fairness in Cocaine Sentencing Act of 2009, was sponsored by Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.). The bill eliminates the current 100-to-1 disparity between crack and powder cocaine sentences.
Under current law, five grams of crack cocaine and 500 grams of powder cocaine trigger the same five-year sentence. Fifty grams of crack cocaine and five kilograms of powder cocaine trigger the same 10-year sentence. If H.R. 3245 becomes law, crack and powder cocaine mandatory minimums will be equal: 500 grams will require five years and 5 kilos (or 5,000 grams) will require 10 years, no matter what form of cocaine is involved.
FAMM is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization working for fair and proportionate sentencing laws. For more information about FAMM, H.R. 3245, or the crack/powder disparity, visit www.famm.org.