Pub. date: 2009 | Online Pub. Date: June 02, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971928 | Print ISBN: 9781412950855 | Online ISBN: 9781412971928| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kimbrough v. United States
Arthur J. Lurigio
In Kimbrougb v. United States (2007), the U.S. Supreme Court addressed the long-standing sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine. Federal drug laws in the latter half of the 1980s set penalties for crack cocaine sales and possession that were significantly more punitive than those for powdered cocaine. These laws were widely regarded as racist because they disproportionately affected African Americans, who were more likely to be sentenced for crack cocaine possession and sales than were non-African Americans. The Kimbrougb Court decided whether judges could sentence people for crack cocaine violations outside the ranges prescribed in federal sentencing guidelines. The Omnibus Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 established mandatory prison sentences for violations of heroin and cocaine statutes and created marked sentencing disparities for the sale of crack and powder cocaine. The Omnibus Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1988 also created sentencing disparities for the simple possession of crack and powder cocaine. ...