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California no longer differentiates between cocaine drug crimes

For some time, the state of California's sentencing guidelines differentiated between powdered cocaine and crack cocaine.  That all ended recently with the passage of the California Fair Sentencing Act, which now makes the sentences for any derivative of cocaine the same.  Proponents of the Act say this ends the racial disparity that existed when individuals were convicted of drug crimes involving cocaine or crack.

Previously, California was one of 13 states that differentiated between crack and powdered cocaine.  Some of the so-called inflated sentences received by those convicted of crimes involving crack drew the ire and attention of the federal government.  In fact, the current presidential administration spearheaded an effort to commute the sentences of numerous individuals who received harsher sentences. 

Perhaps in anticipation of the California Fair Sentencing Act, the state's Attorney General began seeking pardons for people who received "bloated sentences" for crack convictions in April.  The contention is that more African Americans are incarcerated for longer periods of time for essentially the same crime.  Despite the new law, facing drug crimes could still lead to serious consequences.  Therefore, it may be beneficial to enlist the advice and assistance of a criminal defense team to review the case and determine what options are available based on the circumstances. 

Fortunately, every individual facing drug crimes -- whether it involves cocaine or some other drug -- is guaranteed the presumption of innocence.  It is up to prosecutors to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt by evidence that meets the strict requirements of the criminal court system.  Moreover, going to trial is often not the only option available.

Source:, "California Fair Sentencing Act Equalizes Prison Sentencing for Crack and Cocaine Drug Crimes", Diana Ozemebhoya Eromosele, Oct. 2, 2014

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