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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 7124 times)

1654134681665465

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #50 on: December 11, 2007, 03:22:07 PM »
In Patterson there are little glass vials, with colorful tops in the gutters in several neighborhoods.  I had a friend who collected them and used them to decorate a small Christmas tree. 

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #51 on: December 11, 2007, 03:26:05 PM »
In Patterson there are little glass vials, with colorful tops in the gutters in several neighborhoods.  I had a friend who collected them and used them to decorate a small Christmas tree. 
This is really sad. :(

Burning Sands, Esq.

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #52 on: December 11, 2007, 03:30:56 PM »
In Patterson there are little glass vials, with colorful tops in the gutters in several neighborhoods.  I had a friend who collected them and used them to decorate a small Christmas tree. 

Big ups to Patterson.  You guys are right there with us in Newark on the gully factor.

Crack is so cheap, in fact, the cats in front of my apartment in Newark have been out there for all 3 years that I was in Law School, and they're still out there now with nothing to show for it other than some new jackets and a few pairs of new Nikes.  No cars, no new cribs, nada.  Same old same old.  And when you consider that they're outside from the time I get up until well after I've gone to bed (sometimes I'll come back from kickin it at 4 or 5am and they're STILL outside on the stoop) they can't be earning more than minimum wage.  These idiots have to be billing about 18 hours a day.  Sad, man.  Just sad.
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BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #53 on: December 11, 2007, 03:35:19 PM »
In Patterson there are little glass vials, with colorful tops in the gutters in several neighborhoods.  I had a friend who collected them and used them to decorate a small Christmas tree. 

Big ups to Patterson.  You guys are right there with us in Newark on the gully factor.

Crack is so cheap, in fact, the cats in front of my apartment in Newark have been out there for all 3 years that I was in Law School, and they're still out there now with nothing to show for it other than some new jackets and a few pairs of new Nikes.  No cars, no new cribs, nada.  Same old same old.  And when you consider that they're outside from the time I get up until well after I've gone to bed (sometimes I'll come back from kickin it at 4 or 5am and they're STILL outside on the stoop) they can't be earning more than minimum wage.  These idiots have to be billing about 18 hours a day.  Sad, man.  Just sad.
Always remember:

http://www.untitledname.com/archives/upload/2005/3/keith-haring-crack-is-wack-playground-2.jpg

BearlyLegal

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #54 on: December 11, 2007, 03:45:40 PM »
Quote
I only take issue with Bearly's refusal to admit that saying something could have a racist intent is different from saying something has  a racist intent.
You *could* stop putting words in my mouth, and attributing ideas to me that I have never espoused, but you probably won't.

You said:
Quote
Second, it very well could have been designed by the Klan...
I think the context shines a little more light on what you meant by the word *could*.

Sure, you never said that it *has* racist intent, but the implication that it *could* have been racist ignores the far more likely motivation for these laws: That crack was killing little kids.

Edit: Here is a link an early post of mine in the thread where I overtly stated that "clearly, in a nation with a history like the USA's we can attribute racial dimensions to almost any social phenomenon including this one."

http://www.lawschooldiscussion.org/prelaw/index.php/topic,98236.msg2494058.html#msg2494058

So please stop jumping down my throat about positions that I do not hold.

Miss P

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #55 on: December 11, 2007, 04:01:29 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.

Well, admittedly, I'm busy studying for fed courts and I've but skimmed this thread, so I could have missed something, but I think you're being unnecessarily combative given the fact that no one appears to be arguing that the legislation was racist in purpose.  There are several interesting historical accounts going both ways. (As an aside, I had the privilege of reviewing the record in one of the circuit-level cases on this issue, and I am fairly convinced that, despite the support of some black politicians and advocates for the rock-powder disparity, the media accounts included in the House record evidence a kind of racist fear-mongering that influenced a lot of representatives.  But this is neither here nor there.  I can't prove it; it's just my assessment of the evidence.)

I want you to back down for two reasons:

1. You have started arguing (I can't figure out why!) that the legislation could not have been adopted with racist purposes, and I just don't think this makes sense.  Those on the other side have acknowledged that they can't prove racist purpose, and they don't have to.  The question is whether the disparity is biased, and it is -- in the form of disparate impact.  This is not a radical position.  I mean, Rehnquist even said so.

2. I think it's rude to come into someone's house and step on their toes before they invite you to the bedroom.  Monica surely doesn't need my defense (and no, I don't appreciate her having referred to your "idiocy" either), but calling her unsophisticated -- especially when she seems to have the upper hand in the argument -- is plain impolite.

In any case, I do still like you, Bearly.  I would never start to dislike you for adopting or advocating an unpopular position, only for failure to listen to others and for insulting (without any basis) one of the brightest people on the board. :)
That's cool how you referenced a case.

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Kirk Lazarus

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #56 on: December 11, 2007, 04:02:45 PM »
Quote
I only take issue with Bearly's refusal to admit that saying something could have a racist intent is different from saying something has  a racist intent.
You *could* stop putting words in my mouth, and attributing ideas to me that I have never espoused, but you probably won't.

You said:
Quote
Second, it very well could have been designed by the Klan...
I think the context shines a little more light on what you meant by the word *could*.

Sure, you never said that it *has* racist intent, but the implication that it *could* have been racist ignores the far more likely motivation for these laws: That crack was killing little kids.

Dude, what about this don't you understand? You keep maintaining that the laws ARE NOT racially biased and ARE NOT made from racist intent. You haven't offered any support for either.

As I've repeatedly told you, showing a legitimate purpose DOES NOT eliminate the possibility that the laws were still racially biased and have racist intent. I can pull Monica over for being black and say I did it because she was speeding. You are determining intent in a sophomoric way - which is why Miss P presumably told you to cut your losses. The fact that you would even bring up how we recognize "intent" in criminal law with the way we are discussing it here illustrates that you don't have the proper foundation for a reasonable discussion here.

Your point about Black Leaders supporting stiffer sentences is also weak UNLESS you can also establish that those same Black leaders also supported significantly lighter sentences for the other kind of cocaine. The issue isn't simply about the stiffness of the penalties, but also about the penalties compared to a similar crime. You establish one prong and ignore completely another necessary prong to make the argument work.

Your analysis also ignores the possibility that 1) legislators and people in power had access to more information than Black leaders did; 2) It ignores the possibility that groups can support the same proposals for vastly different reasons (Political theory 101);

You make some great points, but you undermine those by having an incredibly flawed understanding of the issue to begin with.
YLS c/o 2009

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #57 on: December 11, 2007, 04:41:36 PM »
Respectfully:

Miss P:
Quote
1. You have started arguing (I can't figure out why!) that the legislation could not have been adopted with racist purposes, and I just don't think this makes sense.
I have never argued this, and like Monica, you seem to have misread me. I am not saying that there *was no* racist purpose. Indeed, I have even specifically stated that like with most social issues in this country, the formulation of these laws could have had racial dimensions.

What I did argue is that there was a widely recognized, non-racial purpose for these laws. Gang violence, caused by crack cocaine was a good reason to enact these laws in the 1980's, and attributing racial motives to this legislation does not do it historical justice.
Quote
Those on the other side have acknowledged that they can't prove racist purpose, and they don't have to.  The question is whether the disparity is biased, and it is -- in the form of disparate impact.  This is not a radical position.  I mean, Rehnquist even said so.
Even I said so. In numerous posts. Over, and over, and over again. I did say that there is disparate impact. I am not denying it. Why are people jumping down my throat for stances that I did not take?

Quote
2. I think it's rude to come into someone's house and step on their toes before they invite you to the bedroom.
  I did not realize that LSD belonged to Monica.

Quote
Monica surely doesn't need my defense (and no, I don't appreciate her having referred to your "idiocy" either), but calling her unsophisticated -- especially when she seems to have the upper hand in the argument -- is plain impolite.
Monica called me an idiot. Then she said I was "not smart". Only then did I call her unsophisticated. Please explain how I am impolite in light of her behavior.

Quote
In any case, I do still like you, Bearly.  I would never start to dislike you for adopting or advocating an unpopular position, only for failure to listen to others and for insulting (without any basis) one of the brightest people on the board. :)
I have been listening to all the others, and I have been agreeing with the majority of what they have been saying. Monica acted extremely rudely to me here - I understand that she's the senior poster here, but that does not excuse her behavior, and it shouldn't indict my response to it.

That said. I'm glad you still like me, Miss P. I still like you too!  :)

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Galt:
Quote
Dude, what about this don't you understand?
I get it.

Quote
You keep maintaining that the laws ARE NOT racially biased
My position is more sophisticated than that. My position, as I have stated it several times: These laws are not racially biased in intent, but they *are* racially biased in outcome.
Quote
and ARE NOT made from racist intent. You haven't offered any support for either.
I have offered significant support for the fact that the creation of these laws is directly attributable to significant social problems caused by the 1980's crack epidemic. While race may have been a consideration in the creation of these laws, the preliminary reasoning for them was espoused by the NAACP, the rainbow coalition, and other black political groups that had significant incentive to not be discriminatory toward black people.

Quote
As I've repeatedly told you, showing a legitimate purpose DOES NOT eliminate the possibility that the laws were still racially biased and have racist intent.
Once again, I understand clearly that the intent could be racial. But when we have a non-racial reasoning for all of these laws, I think that prior to screaming RACISM, we should provide some kind of evidence for the fact that they are derived from racism.

Quote
I can pull Monica over for being black and say I did it because she was speeding. You are determining intent in a sophomoric way - which is why Miss P presumably told you to cut your losses.
I am determining intent by looking at the actual political history of what social phenomena caused this legislation to be enacted. If that's sophmoric, so be it.

Quote
The fact that you would even bring up how we recognize "intent" in criminal law with the way we are discussing it here illustrates that you don't have the proper foundation for a reasonable discussion here.
I brought up intent in the context of criminal law to show that we can have a reasonable discussion about the intent of an individual or a group of individuals, as opposed to other posters who claimed quite clearly that intent cannot ever be ascertained.

Quote
Your point about Black Leaders supporting stiffer sentences is also weak UNLESS you can also establish that those same Black leaders also supported significantly lighter sentences for the other kind of cocaine.
The issue isn't simply about the stiffness of the penalties, but also about the penalties compared to a similar crime. You establish one prong and ignore completely another necessary prong to make the argument work.
This is a very good point. My answer to this is simple: Coke wasn't causing rampant gang violence. As I said before, the legislature did over-react to the crack epidemic, and that these laws are unjust. BUT... racism isn't proved by the fact that only crack is severely punished. The punishment for crack was directly attributable to the social disruption caused by crack - not by some presumed racism on the part of the writers of these laws.
Quote
Your analysis also ignores the possibility that 1) legislators and people in power had access to more information than Black leaders did; 2) It ignores the possibility that groups can support the same proposals for vastly different reasons (Political theory 101);
Both of these are legitimate points, but once again, I think that you would need to prove racial bias on the part of the writers of these laws in order to make an assertion that they are racially biased.

Yeah, they could be racially biased, but with the preponderance of the evidence showing that there were many legitimate reasons to enact these laws, you need to introduce some evidence that indicates that the bias was  there. Otherwise, the assertion that these laws were racially biased is unsupported - and sounds a great deal like paranoid speculation.

Quote
You make some great points, but you undermine those by having an incredibly flawed understanding of the issue to begin with.
Or perhaps we simply disagree about this issue, as do many well educated people on both sides of the political spectrum. That could also be the case.

One way or another, I respect the fact that you parlay with me about these issues in a reasoned and respectful manner. I understand that my position isn't the most popular one here, and I understand that it's further undercut by the fact that I am not a veteran poster. I appreciate the opportunity to speak my mind and have a reasoned counterpoint.

1654134681665465

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #58 on: December 12, 2007, 01:35:09 PM »
In Patterson there are little glass vials, with colorful tops in the gutters in several neighborhoods.  I had a friend who collected them and used them to decorate a small Christmas tree. 

Big ups to Patterson.  You guys are right there with us in Newark on the gully factor.

Crack is so cheap, in fact, the cats in front of my apartment in Newark have been out there for all 3 years that I was in Law School, and they're still out there now with nothing to show for it other than some new jackets and a few pairs of new Nikes.  No cars, no new cribs, nada.  Same old same old.  And when you consider that they're outside from the time I get up until well after I've gone to bed (sometimes I'll come back from kickin it at 4 or 5am and they're STILL outside on the stoop) they can't be earning more than minimum wage.  These idiots have to be billing about 18 hours a day.  Sad, man.  Just sad.

At one of the projects where drug sales and shootings were becoming all too frequent, the police set up a 'satellite station' in the parking lot of the project to cut down on crime. (It was basically a portable trailer for the posted police to hang out in).  Within a few nights of being there, it was firebombed.  I guess the police thought it would be safe to lock it up and leave it unguarded at night. 

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Re: Federal Sentencing Guidelines on Crack/Cocaine
« Reply #59 on: December 12, 2007, 02:27:32 PM »
In Patterson there are little glass vials, with colorful tops in the gutters in several neighborhoods.  I had a friend who collected them and used them to decorate a small Christmas tree. 

Big ups to Patterson.  You guys are right there with us in Newark on the gully factor.

Crack is so cheap, in fact, the cats in front of my apartment in Newark have been out there for all 3 years that I was in Law School, and they're still out there now with nothing to show for it other than some new jackets and a few pairs of new Nikes.  No cars, no new cribs, nada.  Same old same old.  And when you consider that they're outside from the time I get up until well after I've gone to bed (sometimes I'll come back from kickin it at 4 or 5am and they're STILL outside on the stoop) they can't be earning more than minimum wage.  These idiots have to be billing about 18 hours a day.  Sad, man.  Just sad.

At one of the projects where drug sales and shootings were becoming all too frequent, the police set up a 'satellite station' in the parking lot of the project to cut down on crime. (It was basically a portable trailer for the posted police to hang out in).  Within a few nights of being there, it was firebombed.  I guess the police thought it would be safe to lock it up and leave it unguarded at night. 

Classic.  Dirty Jerse strikes again!  :D
"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."
Charles H. Houston