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 7125 times)

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #40 on: December 11, 2007, 01:43:11 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. 
1) Classism isn't in question here.
2) Black candidates can have racist intent, but in order to get elected, they need to appeal to their constituents. Clearly, tough anti-crack laws appealed to the majority of black voters in the 1980's. If it's racist to give the people what they want, I don't know what to tell you.  Clearly, there were *many* good reasons in the 1980's to create this legislation. These reasons were well-received by both white communities and black communities.
3) My detractors are trying to prove malfescence on the part of legislators. I don't need to *dis*prove anything. If you are going to say that racism was a factor in the creation of the anti-crack legislation, you should provide some evidence.

I am defending unpopular, and seemingly conservative legislation on a Law School Discussion Forum's Minority Discussion Board. I'm not surprised that what I'm saying is unpopular, and I don't expect you to agree with it. As I said in my very first post:

"It's not racist, but I see why some people think it is"

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #41 on: December 11, 2007, 01:51:54 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.

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.

Do you know what the word "could" means? That means it's a possibility. That doesn't mean I think it's true.

Do you know what the word "presume" means? That means I think it's true.

You are going to be eaten alive in law school if it hasn't happened already. Vocabulary is key.
Do you know that anything *could* be true? The world *could* be flat. You *could* spontaneously combust.

You used the word *could* to support the position that the writers of this legislation were racist. The meaning of the word *could* is not lost on me, but you were using it for a very clear purpose.

Vocabulary is key, but so is context. In the context that you used the word *could*, you were unreasonable.

Yes, the intent of the legislators *could* have been racist, but there is plenty of evidence to show that the legislation was passed in response to serious social problems, and *not* because of racism.


BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #42 on: December 11, 2007, 02:02:20 PM »
No one here is trying to prove malfeasance on the part of legislators. I wish you were smarter so this was interesting instead of irritating. I don't know how you could do more to misconstrue what EVERYONE is saying...which is that it's not possible to discern without a shadow of a doubt that racism was part of the motivation for these laws.

And that's beside the point anyway, because if you return to the basic intent v. impact point, it's clear that the law *is* racially biased. Who cares about the intent?

The following is my final response to you:
When you say something is "biased", you should establish whether it is biased in intent or in effect. As I have said over and over and over and over again, these laws are biased in effect, but there is no evidence that they were intended or designed to be biased.

I'm sorry if you aren't sophisticated enough to understand that this issue is simply not as cut-and-dry as some would like it to be.

Screaming racism for every policy which negatively impacts a given social group undercuts the claims that actual, intended racism that does still exist in our society. We should be focusing on fixing the laws that don't work, but assuming racism for every social ill only exacerbates the rasicm that still obviously exists in the USA.

____

Monica: I will stop addressing you, because everything you say starts with an undeserved attack against me personally. For someone who prides themselves on going to Law School as much as you do, you seem to have trouble formulating an argument, and you sure do depend on off-base ad-hominem attacks to prove your point. I'm done humoring you.

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #43 on: December 11, 2007, 02:26:59 PM »
Wasn't it the NAACP who pushed for stiffer sentencing years ago when crack-coacaine started tearing apart the black communities?


You may have a point there.  Although a large push for the federal sentencing guidelines came from the Regan administration after the cocaine overdose of Len Bias.

I've had this debate with some of my friends and one of my buddy's feels that the racial disparity between the punishment for crack and the punishment for cocaine may stem from the proposition that crack is more harmful than cocaine.  Any thoughts on that assertion?
"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
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Miss P

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #44 on: December 11, 2007, 02:28:56 PM »
I'm sorry if you aren't sophisticated enough to understand that this issue is simply not as cut-and-dry as some would like it to be.

Oh, dear, Bearly.  Cut your losses.  Please.  I want to keep liking you.
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #45 on: December 11, 2007, 02:33:32 PM »
1) We've seen time and again that government passes laws that do not have the desired effect or that have unintended consequences.  It is also the case that government is slow to fix its mistakes unless there is huge public outcry and immense (either public or financial) pressure to do so.  That being said, it is easier understand how Congress could have dragged their feet on this issue. 

2) When looking at how effective The War on Drugs has been (I would say minimal), how can we expect our government to be effective in policing drug activities within the United States if it cannot keep the drugs from entering in the first place?  While I agree that to truly tackle the cocaine problem, the head of the snake (cocaine producers outside the U.S., smugglers, U.S. distributors, etc.) needs to be cut off, it is much easier to pick up the guys on the corner than to track down the head of the operation.  In addition, communities that are crying for help are going to be much more satisfied with immediate arrests of local drug dealers, than explanations that the government is working towards tracking down the root of the problem.  And when the primary motivations for government leaders are votes, they want to give their constituents immediate (albeit less effective in the long run) results. 

3) Monica, I have no idea what your problem is.  Bearly made several good points and you are attacking him because you are too dense to understand. 

Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #46 on: December 11, 2007, 02:38:57 PM »
I believe if any drug should have a harsher sentence, it should be Meth.  I believe that is the worst drug on earth.  They say 98 percent of first time users become addicted.  We had a debate about the NAACP pushing for these stiffer sentences in class.  Crack began to tear apart black communities and violence errupted. I would be curious to see the crack usage statistics?  To me, it seems like it may have died down a bit in the black communities, but I'm not sure.  I think crack and cocaine should have equal sentencing.  It was Rick Ross who first brought crack cocaine into the black communities, but the government played a part in allowing him to do that.  Crack is much cheaper and is used primarily in black communities.  Cocaine is more hollywood and more expensive....

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #47 on: December 11, 2007, 02:40:32 PM »
I'm sorry if you aren't sophisticated enough to understand that this issue is simply not as cut-and-dry as some would like it to be.

Oh, dear, Bearly.  Cut your losses.  Please.  I want to keep liking you.
I have a legitimate point, Miss P. If you don't like me enough because I'm willing to argue an unpopular side to a controversial issue, it makes me sad, because I like you. But I think it's sad that you want me to back down too. :(

Legislation that was supported by the NAACP was racist against black people? I just don't buy it.

I'm not claiming that the outcomes of this legislation have been good. I'm just saying that the motivation behind this legislation was positive, and necessary for it's time.

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #48 on: December 11, 2007, 02:46:05 PM »
I believe if any drug should have a harsher sentence, it should be Meth.  I believe that is the worst drug on earth.  They say 98 percent of first time users become addicted.  We had a debate about the NAACP pushing for these stiffer sentences in class.  Crack began to tear apart black communities and violence errupted. I would be curious to see the crack usage statistics?  To me, it seems like it may have died down a bit in the black communities, but I'm not sure.  I think crack and cocaine should have equal sentencing.  It was Rick Ross who first brought crack cocaine into the black communities, but the government played a part in allowing him to do that.  Crack is much cheaper and is used primarily in black communities.  Cocaine is more hollywood and more expensive....
I agree with you about Meth completely. I also agree that Coke sentencing needs to be more in line with crack sentencing.

This is a bit off-tangent, but I want to ask anyway:
If the government made crack convictions less burdensome on corner dealers, wouldn't the price of crack probably fall as a result?

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #49 on: December 11, 2007, 03:16:01 PM »
You can buy a hit of crack on my block in Newark for $20.


I don't know how much cheaper it could get.
"A lawyer's either a social engineer or a parasite on society. A social engineer is a highly skilled...lawyer who understands the Constitution of the U.S. and knows how to explore its uses in the solving of problems of local communities and in bettering [our] conditions."
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