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Wednesday, December 26, 2007
 
UNEQUAL TREATMENT UNDER THE LAW

In 1986, Congress passed the Anti-Drug Abuse Act which, among other things, mandated sentences for offenses involving crack cocaine to be 100 times more severe than for crimes involving powdered cocaine. Many have seen this disparity in sentencing guidelines as reflecting the similar disparity in the way the law treats the poor and the not so poor. Whether true or not, crack cocaine is typically associated with urban neighborhoods while powdered cocaine is seen as the drug of choice in the Hollywood hills and townhouses of Manhattan.

What does this have to do with Sports Law?

A major impetus for the Anti-Drug Abuse Act was the death earlier that year of Len Bias, the University of Maryland basketball star and number one pick of the Boston Celtics. Bias reportedly died of a cocaine overdose.

And today, the Washington Post is reporting the tragic story of Willie Mays Aikens, the former Kansas City Royals first baseman noted for being the only player in baseball history to hit two homeruns in a game twice in the same World Series. In 1994, Aikens was sentenced to 15 years in prison for possessing 64 grams of crack cocaine, about the weight of a candy bar; to receive a similar sentence for possessing powdered cocaine, one would need to be caught with more than 6 ½ kilos or more than 14 pounds.

Aikens has become the symbol of what many see as the unequal treatment of the poor and minorities in America’s judicial system. As he told the Post, "The disparity, as far as I'm concerned, is totally wrong. This took me away from my family. My girls were 4 and 5 years old when I was sentenced. Now they're 18 and 19."

Aikens is not scheduled to be released from the federal penitentiary in Jessup, Georgia until 2012.





4 Comments:

A given weight of crack cocaine provides substantially more individual doses than does the equivalent weight of powder cocaine. That doesn't completely explain the 100-to-1 sentencing disparity, but clearly the differences aren't quite as extreme as they might seem.

Aikens probably got as tough a sentence as he did in part because it was his second drug conviction in a short period of time.

Peter
Iron Rails & Iron Weights

Anonymous Anonymous -- 12/26/2007 9:48 PM  


Aikens has become the symbol of what many see as the unequal treatment of the poor and minorities in America’s judicial system. As he told the Post, "The disparity, as far as I'm concerned, is totally wrong. This took me away from my family. My girls were 4 and 5 years old when I was sentenced. Now they're 18 and 19."

It's a shame that Mr. Aikens blames being sentenced as what took him away from his kids. He was arrested for 64 grams which is about 650 doses of crack. It's cheaper and therefore he was able to sell it to more people, including youths. Any remorse for that?

Mr. Aiken should actually refelct on his life and be willing to admit how lucky he was and how much he had and threw it all away to make money selling drugs and helping make more addicts in the black population.

He had a college degree. Why go to drugs? For the money, that's why.

Aiken had been part of one of the worst scandels in MLB while with the Pirates. He got the gift of immunity, but kept using drugs.

Kansas City PD had received complaints of suspicious goings on and so put his condo under surveillance. The PD docummented observing traffic coming and going out of his place.

Officer Ginger Locke developed a friendship with Aiken and on 4 different occasions Aiken made crack from powder, with equipment he had in his house. He bought and made the crack in front of Officer Locke. If not selling it to Officer Locke he would have sold it to kids, youths, or whoever had money to buy his stuff.

Not a nice man.

Blogger elena -- 12/29/2007 4:23 PM  


Congress has determined that the risk posed by crack users/dealers is greater than that posed by cocaine users/dealers. Is that right or wrong, I don;t know, but it is certainly a permissible legislative determination.

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Blogger sexy -- 12/02/2008 11:25 PM  


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