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A first change in drug sentencing

December 14, 2007

Re "Justices OK latitude on sentencing," Dec. 11

Finally, the Supreme Court has positively reacted to the cruelty of a bad sentencing law that has been tossed around between legislatures and the courts for 20 years. In that time, an alarming number of people's lives have been destroyed by racially discriminatory crack-cocaine laws that disproportionately sentenced people of color. However, the decision to give judges more power to use sentencing discretion is only a first step in correcting these clearly draconian laws that were constructed because of the politics of the drug war. I hope it sends a clear message to prosecutors that mandatory minimum sentences are a part of an archaic judicial structure that needs to be overhauled in the name of justice.

Anthony Papa

Communications Specialist

Drug Policy Alliance

New York

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