TBA Law Blog

Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Jun 21, 2012

The Supreme Court ruled today that people who committed crack cocaine crimes before more lenient penalties took effect -- but received their prison sentence afterward -- should benefit from the new rules. The decision resolved the cases of two men who were arrested for selling crack cocaine under the old mandatory minimum sentencing scheme, but were not sentenced until after the Fair Sentencing Act went into effect in August 2010. That law reduced the difference between sentences for crack and powder cocaine. In the 5-4 decision, the court said the new rules should apply because it could "find no convincing reason why Congress would have wanted…unfair consequences." The dissenting justices argued that an 1871 law dictates that new, more lenient sentencing not apply to pre-enactment offenders. WRCB TV3 has this AP story