Comment Of Senator Leahy On Final Passage Of The Fair Sentencing Act Of 2010

[The U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday passed S. 1789, the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010, to address the sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) is an original cosponsor of the legislation and a longtime advocate for eliminating the sentencing disparity.  The Senate Judiciary Committee, which Leahy chairs, approved the legislation in March, and the Senate unanimously passed the legislation just days later.  The bill will now be sent to the President to be signed into law].


“Congress has finally acted to address the crack-powder disparity and the harm to public confidence in our justice system it created.  For more than 20 years, the criminal justice system has used a federal cocaine sentencing policy that treats ‘crack’ offenders one hundred times more harshly than other cocaine offenders, without a legitimate basis for the difference.  This policy is wrong and unfair, and it has needlessly swelled our prisons, wasting precious federal resources.

“These disproportionate punishments have had a disparate impact on minority communities.  This is unjust and runs contrary to our fundamental principles of equal justice under law.  I was pleased to work with Senator Durbin and Attorney General Holder to move this legislation through the Judiciary Committee earlier this year, and commend them and others for their key roles in this achievement.  It has taken years of patient work and goodwill to build consensus on this issue.  Finally, after many years of work and compromise, the President will sign this historic legislation into law.”

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