YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollectionsCrack Cocaine

Crack Cocaine

February 7, 2008 | From Times Wire Reports
Atty. Gen. Michael B. Mukasey wants Congress to act to prevent the release of thousands of criminals from federal prison under new crack cocaine sentencing rules. In testimony prepared for a House hearing today, Mukasey indicates his support for the new guidelines that reduce federal prison time for crack cocaine convicts -- but only for first-time, nonviolent offenders. The U.S. Sentencing Commission rules taking effect in less than a month would let nearly 20,000 federal inmates seek reductions in their crack cocaine sentences.
December 30, 2007 | Richard B. Schmitt and David G. Savage, Times Staff Writers
In the spring of 1986, lawmakers had become alarmed by reports of urban crime waves linked to crack, then a new and highly addictive form of cocaine. News reports were full of images of writhing "crack babies" deeply addicted to the drug through their mothers, doomed to "a life of certain suffering, of probable deviance, of permanent inferiority," as one columnist observed. The sudden death that June of basketball star Len Bias galvanized Washington into passing extraordinarily strict drug laws.
December 12, 2007 | Richard B. Schmitt, Times Staff Writer
More than 2,500 federal inmates became eligible for early release from prison starting in March after the U.S. Sentencing Commission voted Tuesday to retroactively reduce the penalties for using and selling crack cocaine. Despite Justice Department warnings against releasing thousands of criminals, the commission voted unanimously to allow inmates to seek reduced sentences if they were convicted under tough drug laws passed in the 1980s.
November 13, 2007
Congress probably didn't set out to pass racially discriminatory laws 20 years ago when it first began clamping down on crack cocaine. The intention was to stem a drug epidemic that was rapidly tearing inner-city neighborhoods apart -- driving gang warfare, splitting families and, it was feared, creating a generation of "crack babies" too hopelessly damaged to ever become productive members of society.
July 9, 2007 | Jerry Crowe, Times Staff Writer
One early evening in Long Beach in the mid-1980s, back when he was in the throes of a wicked addiction to crack cocaine, former Pro Bowl linebacker Isiah Robertson says he found himself staring into the barrel of a shotgun.
June 12, 2007 | David G. Savage, Times Staff Writer
The Supreme Court agreed for the first time Monday to reconsider the long prison terms meted out to the mostly black defendants who are convicted of selling crack cocaine. At least 25,000 defendants per year are sent to federal prison on crack cocaine charges, and their prison terms are usually 50% longer than those for dealers selling powder cocaine.
May 16, 2007 | John Spano, Times Staff Writer
When Mildred White's 26-year-old daughter was found strangled in 1987, her friend and neighbor Jerri Johnson Tripplett consoled her. The women bowled together every week, and Tripplett was a huge comfort as White tried to move on with her life -- with the slaying of her daughter, Annette Ernest, unsolved. In an aching twist six years later, it was Tripplett who needed to rely on their bond. Her daughter, Andrea Lavonne Tripplett, 29, was also found slain.
November 13, 2006 | Eric E. Sterling, ERIC E. STERLING, president of the nonprofit Criminal Justice Policy Foundation in Silver Spring, Md., was counsel to the House Judiciary Committee, principally responsible for anti-drug legislation, from 1979 to 1989.
ONE OF OUR MOST infamous contemporary laws is the 100-1 difference in sentencing between crack cocaine and powder cocaine. Under federal drug laws, prison sentences are usually tied to the quantity of drugs the defendant trafficked. For example, selling 5,000 grams of powder cocaine (about a briefcase full) gets a mandatory 10-year prison sentence, but so does selling only 50 grams of crack cocaine (the weight of a candy bar).
May 5, 2006 | Jonathan Abrams, Times Staff Writer
Los Angeles police raided a hotel Thursday on the outskirts of Chinatown, arresting eight suspects in an alleged crack cocaine ring that provided a stark look at how even homeless people with only pennies to their name can fuel a burgeoning drug trade.
May 29, 2005 | Lynell George, Times Staff Writer
Gary PHILLIPS and Jervey Tervalon were shooting nothing more potent than the breeze when they hit on a notion. The writers had found themselves sitting on yet another panel, sorting through urban Los Angeles' all-too-familiar miasma of troubles -- gangs, drugs, joblessness and a very particular mounting rage that can eventually explode into riot.
Los Angeles Times Articles