Pubdate: Wed, 29 Jul 2009
Source: Washington Post (DC)
Page: A16
Copyright: 2009 The Washington Post Company
Author: Eric E. Sterling


The Post's editorialists are correct that "strides are being made
toward fairness in sentencing" by a House Judiciary subcommittee's
approval of a bill to eliminate the 5-gram and 50-gram crack cocaine
triggers for federal mandatory minimum sentences [Cocaine Justice,"
editorial, July 26]. Unfortunately, federal crack cases are typically
on the smaller side. Local crack dealers do not belong in federal
court; they can be prosecuted by the states.

The bill won't improve the drug situation in America because it does
not redirect federal anti-drug efforts to the global criminals who
arrange multimillion-gram drug shipments. That is the federal role in
a proper partnership with state and local drug enforcement. Global
drug traffickers corrupt and intimidate the police, judges and
military in Colombia, Mexico, etc. They will operate with impunity
until they are targeted by U.S. federal law enforcement. Local crack
cases are a wasteful distraction.

Eric E. Sterling


Criminal Justice Policy Foundation

Silver Spring
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