Law School Discussion

Nine Years of Discussion
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Poll

Are the Federal Sentencing Guidelines re Crack & Cocaine racially biassed?

Yes
 13 (72.2%)
No
 2 (11.1%)
Don't Know
 3 (16.7%)

Total Members Voted: 18

Author Topic: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine  (Read 6541 times)

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2007, 10:27:56 PM »
Edit: Some good points, but your perspective on this issue is pretty limited and your sophistication concerning the motives of the legislation is lacking.

Oh and btw, the data given clearly shows that the punitive legislation for dodgebullet is racially biased. Can you figure out why?
Obviously, I am not stating the entire argument for the anti-crack legislation of the 1980's, and clearly, in a nation with a history like the USA's we can attribute racial dimensions to almost any social phenomenon including this one. But if you look at the political campaigns of black candidates of the era (good examples would be rainbow coalition candidates like Jesse Jackson and David Dinkins), they also ran on "get tough on crack" platforms. The fact that Jesse Jackson was for strict regulation of crack should say something about the zeitgeist of the day.

You have me on the dodgebullet tip. What makes it racist?


Not racist! Racially biased! I'm just giving you a hard time though, don't mind me.


Wait, actually I do have a question:

Why should the punishment for simply participating in dodgebullet be different from dodgedart? I don't get it ???
Are you being facetious?

A DUI is a good parallel example:
- A DUI perpetrator can be criminally punished for his behavior, even if it does not result in damages.
- Someone operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is liable for severe criminal punishment.
- Someone operating a tricycle while intoxicated is probably not liable for the same level of criminal punishment.

Why? The level of aggregate public harm caused by drunk drivers is significantly greater than the aggregate public harm caused by intoxicated tricycle riders.

This doesn't make any sense. Operating a motor vehicle while drunk is a crime. Operating a tricycle while intoxicated is not a crime. Dodgebullet and dodgedart both seem to be crimes (unless you're talking about nerf darts in which case, nerf is about to be screwed since 5000 people died while using their product).

A better comparison from your rationale is speeding vs. DUI. We can go there if you'd like.
  I'm trying to compare apples with apples. Consider that operating a Tricycle in public while intoxicated is most certainly an instance of public intoxication, which is most certainly a crime in my county.

Ok then your hypo still doesn't make sense because the consequences in the hypos are vastly different. In dodgedart v. dodgebullet, participants kill other people. The only person who reasonably is going to die while riding on a trike, is the person on a tricycle. I've never heard of two drunk toddlers on tricycles colliding to kill one another...

But EVEN if we agree that there are legitimate reasons for allowing different punishment because of the POTENTIAL for collateral damage, that doesn't eliminate the possibility that the punishment is not optimal and is racially motivated.

The problem with the courts, in my estimate, is that today we end the analysis on race at whether or not there was a legitimate purpose for an action. This is why I asked you to add more details to your hypo that would either distinguish it from crack cocaine or make it similar enough in nature that we could talk about racial bias.
We are tackling too many issues all at the same time. I'm willing to go toe to toe about all of these, but I don't think that would be constructive for what we are trying to figure out. I relent on all arguments about Dodgebullet (as fun as that concept is). The initial question is:
 
Are Federal Sentencing guidelines on Crack and Cocaine Racially biased?

My succinct response?

1) They are not biased in intent. There was no racial motivation in writing these laws.
2) They are biased in outcome. More black people have been adversely impacted by them than white people.
3) They should be re-evaluated and changed in light of the undesirable outcome.

Do we disagree on any of these points?

Kirk Lazarus

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #31 on: December 10, 2007, 10:32:56 PM »
Edit: Some good points, but your perspective on this issue is pretty limited and your sophistication concerning the motives of the legislation is lacking.

Oh and btw, the data given clearly shows that the punitive legislation for dodgebullet is racially biased. Can you figure out why?
Obviously, I am not stating the entire argument for the anti-crack legislation of the 1980's, and clearly, in a nation with a history like the USA's we can attribute racial dimensions to almost any social phenomenon including this one. But if you look at the political campaigns of black candidates of the era (good examples would be rainbow coalition candidates like Jesse Jackson and David Dinkins), they also ran on "get tough on crack" platforms. The fact that Jesse Jackson was for strict regulation of crack should say something about the zeitgeist of the day.

You have me on the dodgebullet tip. What makes it racist?


Not racist! Racially biased! I'm just giving you a hard time though, don't mind me.


Wait, actually I do have a question:

Why should the punishment for simply participating in dodgebullet be different from dodgedart? I don't get it ???
Are you being facetious?

A DUI is a good parallel example:
- A DUI perpetrator can be criminally punished for his behavior, even if it does not result in damages.
- Someone operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is liable for severe criminal punishment.
- Someone operating a tricycle while intoxicated is probably not liable for the same level of criminal punishment.

Why? The level of aggregate public harm caused by drunk drivers is significantly greater than the aggregate public harm caused by intoxicated tricycle riders.

This doesn't make any sense. Operating a motor vehicle while drunk is a crime. Operating a tricycle while intoxicated is not a crime. Dodgebullet and dodgedart both seem to be crimes (unless you're talking about nerf darts in which case, nerf is about to be screwed since 5000 people died while using their product).

A better comparison from your rationale is speeding vs. DUI. We can go there if you'd like.
  I'm trying to compare apples with apples. Consider that operating a Tricycle in public while intoxicated is most certainly an instance of public intoxication, which is most certainly a crime in my county.

Ok then your hypo still doesn't make sense because the consequences in the hypos are vastly different. In dodgedart v. dodgebullet, participants kill other people. The only person who reasonably is going to die while riding on a trike, is the person on a tricycle. I've never heard of two drunk toddlers on tricycles colliding to kill one another...

But EVEN if we agree that there are legitimate reasons for allowing different punishment because of the POTENTIAL for collateral damage, that doesn't eliminate the possibility that the punishment is not optimal and is racially motivated.

The problem with the courts, in my estimate, is that today we end the analysis on race at whether or not there was a legitimate purpose for an action. This is why I asked you to add more details to your hypo that would either distinguish it from crack cocaine or make it similar enough in nature that we could talk about racial bias.
We are tackling too many issues all at the same time. I'm willing to go toe to toe about all of these, but I don't think that would be constructive for what we are trying to figure out. I relent on all arguments about Dodgebullet (as fun as that concept is). The initial question is:
 
Are Federal Sentencing guidelines on Crack and Cocaine Racially biased?

My succinct response?

1) They are not biased in intent. There was no racial motivation in writing these laws.
2) They are biased in outcome. More black people have been adversely impacted by them than white people.
3) They should be re-evaluated and changed in light of the undesirable outcome.

Do we disagree on any of these points?

1. I don't see how anyone can answer this question. Determining intent is too hard and even people with evil intent can mask it with a legitimate purpose.
2. Correct
3. Correct

Honestly, my solution was to increase the punishment for powder...not reduce it for crack...but whatever.
YLS c/o 2009

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #32 on: December 10, 2007, 10:43:39 PM »
Edit: Some good points, but your perspective on this issue is pretty limited and your sophistication concerning the motives of the legislation is lacking.

Oh and btw, the data given clearly shows that the punitive legislation for dodgebullet is racially biased. Can you figure out why?
Obviously, I am not stating the entire argument for the anti-crack legislation of the 1980's, and clearly, in a nation with a history like the USA's we can attribute racial dimensions to almost any social phenomenon including this one. But if you look at the political campaigns of black candidates of the era (good examples would be rainbow coalition candidates like Jesse Jackson and David Dinkins), they also ran on "get tough on crack" platforms. The fact that Jesse Jackson was for strict regulation of crack should say something about the zeitgeist of the day.

You have me on the dodgebullet tip. What makes it racist?


Not racist! Racially biased! I'm just giving you a hard time though, don't mind me.


Wait, actually I do have a question:

Why should the punishment for simply participating in dodgebullet be different from dodgedart? I don't get it ???
Are you being facetious?

A DUI is a good parallel example:
- A DUI perpetrator can be criminally punished for his behavior, even if it does not result in damages.
- Someone operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated is liable for severe criminal punishment.
- Someone operating a tricycle while intoxicated is probably not liable for the same level of criminal punishment.

Why? The level of aggregate public harm caused by drunk drivers is significantly greater than the aggregate public harm caused by intoxicated tricycle riders.

This doesn't make any sense. Operating a motor vehicle while drunk is a crime. Operating a tricycle while intoxicated is not a crime. Dodgebullet and dodgedart both seem to be crimes (unless you're talking about nerf darts in which case, nerf is about to be screwed since 5000 people died while using their product).

A better comparison from your rationale is speeding vs. DUI. We can go there if you'd like.
  I'm trying to compare apples with apples. Consider that operating a Tricycle in public while intoxicated is most certainly an instance of public intoxication, which is most certainly a crime in my county.

Ok then your hypo still doesn't make sense because the consequences in the hypos are vastly different. In dodgedart v. dodgebullet, participants kill other people. The only person who reasonably is going to die while riding on a trike, is the person on a tricycle. I've never heard of two drunk toddlers on tricycles colliding to kill one another...

But EVEN if we agree that there are legitimate reasons for allowing different punishment because of the POTENTIAL for collateral damage, that doesn't eliminate the possibility that the punishment is not optimal and is racially motivated.

The problem with the courts, in my estimate, is that today we end the analysis on race at whether or not there was a legitimate purpose for an action. This is why I asked you to add more details to your hypo that would either distinguish it from crack cocaine or make it similar enough in nature that we could talk about racial bias.
We are tackling too many issues all at the same time. I'm willing to go toe to toe about all of these, but I don't think that would be constructive for what we are trying to figure out. I relent on all arguments about Dodgebullet (as fun as that concept is). The initial question is:
 
Are Federal Sentencing guidelines on Crack and Cocaine Racially biased?

My succinct response?

1) They are not biased in intent. There was no racial motivation in writing these laws.
2) They are biased in outcome. More black people have been adversely impacted by them than white people.
3) They should be re-evaluated and changed in light of the undesirable outcome.

Do we disagree on any of these points?

1. I don't see how anyone can answer this question. Determining intent is too hard and even people with evil intent can mask it with a legitimate purpose.
2. Correct
3. Correct

Honestly, my solution was to increase the punishment for powder...not reduce it for crack...but whatever.

If we can't ever determine intent, our entire criminal justice system falls apart under the weight of mens rea. Clearly we can make judgments about intent - they may not be 100% accurate, but neither is anything else in reality. If rainbow coalition candidates included "crack reduction" strategies in their campaigns, we can probably say that the crack epidemic (at least as perceived by 1980's politicians) was the immediate cause of the drug sentencing guidelines, not racism.

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #33 on: December 10, 2007, 11:13:02 PM »
Quote
But what's that got to do with this particular issue?  Crack dealers are intending to cause more harm than distributors of cocaine?  Even though the latter are necessary for the former to cause any harm?  Is that it?
Intent discussion was about the writers of the initial sentencing guidelines and anti-crack legislation.


Quote
If anything, the strictest punishment should be placed on the keystone dealers.  Why?  Because everything goes through them.  And that, there, actually is logic.
No argument against this. TITCR.

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #34 on: December 10, 2007, 11:14:22 PM »
1. Who knows? It's entirely possible that there is racist intent.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.

Your initial statement that there is no racial bias was bizarre.
The fact that black political candidates supported the laws in question is a good indicator that the intent was something other than racist.

Or... We can blame everything on racism instead.

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #35 on: December 10, 2007, 11:16:55 PM »
What is the intent involved in leaving in place a biased regime?
I thought there was significant political movement to overturn current drug laws? Am I wrong?

Miss P

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #36 on: December 11, 2007, 10:24:18 AM »
tag
That's cool how you referenced a case.

Quote from: archival
I'm so far from the end of my tether right now that I reckon I could knit myself some socks with the slack.

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #37 on: December 11, 2007, 11:08:57 AM »
1. Who knows? It's entirely possible that there is racist intent.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.

Your initial statement that there is no racial bias was bizarre.
The fact that black political candidates supported the laws in question is a good indicator that the intent was something other than racist.

Or... We can blame everything on racism instead.

God your idiocy is annoying. Who blamed anything on racism? Saying we don't know for sure whether the intent was racist or not--because, as we've already pointed out, intent is extremely difficult to ascertain--isn't the same as blaming things on racism. ::)
You are also annoying. Why presume ill intent?

Edit: Earlier in the thread, you claimed that the Klan could have been involved in the writing of this legislation. Who blamed anything on racism indeed.

Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #38 on: December 11, 2007, 01:06:56 PM »
Wasn't it the NAACP who pushed for stiffer sentencing years ago when crack-coacaine started tearing apart the black communities?

pikey

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #39 on: December 11, 2007, 01:33:08 PM »
1. Who knows? It's entirely possible that there is racist intent.
2. Yes.
3. Yes.

Your initial statement that there is no racial bias was bizarre.
The fact that black political candidates supported the laws in question is a good indicator that the intent was something other than racist.

Or... We can blame everything on racism instead.

tiNtcr.  A few black political candidates do not speak for all black people.  Black candidates can have racist/classist intent.  And even if the black candidates didn't have racist intent, that doesn't mean that the people who actually created the laws didn't. 
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