Use new drug sentencing law in crack cases

Legal Insight Posted on

The Supreme Court says criminals who were arrested but not yet sentenced for crack cocaine offenses should be able to take advantage of newly reduced sentences.

Corey A. Hill and Edward Dorsey were arrested in 2007 and 2008 for selling crack cocaine and faced mandatory 10-year sentences in Illinois. But they weren't sentenced until after the Fair Sentencing Act went into effect in August 2010. That law reduces the difference between sentences for crimes committed by crack cocaine and powder cocaine users.

Justice Stephen Breyer said in a 5-4 decision Thursday that the courts should have used the new law to sentence the two men.

Chief Justice John Roberts, and Justices Antonin Scalia, Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.

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