Supreme Court Backs Reduced Sentences for Individuals Facing Crack Cocaine Offenses

According to The Boston Herald, the Supreme Court ruled that the “Fair Sentencing Act,” which relaxed mandatory prison sentences for crack cocaine offenses, will now cover people who were charged but not yet sentenced when this act became law in 2010. The Herald reports that the act passed with bipartisan support to eliminate a distinct disparity between the required sentences for sellers of powder cocaine, who tend to be white, and persons who sell crack cocaine, who are “disproportionately black.”
Ultimately, this new ruling means that people who committed crack cocaine crimes before more lenient penalties took effect and had received their prison sentence afterward should benefit from the new rules. Congress did not specify whether the change would be retroactive, but Justice Breyer, who wrote the majority opinion for the high court, stated that not making it retroactive would “preserve a disproportionate status quo” and would create a “new disparate sentencing cliff.”

The Supreme Court resolved a dispute in favor of Edward Dorsey and Corey A. Hill who were arrested for selling crack cocaine in 2007 and 2008, both facing mandatory 10-year sentences in Illinois. However, both parties were not sentenced until after the “Fair Sentencing Act” was passed in August of 2010. This new Supreme Court ruling concluded that the courts should have used the new law to sentence the two men.

Civil rights groups praised the decision as it is another step toward reducing the sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine crimes, a gap which has struck African Americans particularly hard.

The drug sales attorneys in Maryland with the law firm of Alpert Schreyer understand the seriousness of such an offense and the harsh penalties one may face upon conviction. If you are facing drug charges in the state of Maryland, call us immediately at (866) 444-6363 to schedule a no-cost consultation regarding your case. We will work to ensure your lawful rights are protected.

About Andrew Alpert

+Andrew is one of the leading DUI and criminal defense attorneys in both the state of Maryland and the District of Columbia. He blogs about Maryland DUI law, has numerous videos on the subject and has been asked to appear on national television to offer his legal opinion on high-profile criminal cases.