Description: This report discusses legislation and several court cases to examine the changing nature of Crack Cocaine penalties in comparison to powder cocaine. Until 2005, the Guidelines were binding on federal courts: the judge had discretion to sentence a defendant, but only within the narrow sentencing range that the Guidelines provided. In its 2005 opinion United States v. Booker, the Supreme Court declared that the Guidelines must be considered advisory rather than mandatory, in order to comply with the Constitution. Instead of being bound by the Guidelines, sentencing courts must treat the federal guidelines as just one of a number of sentencing factors (which include the need to avoid undue sentencing disparity).
Date: August 5, 2010
Creator: Yeh, Brian T.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department