H.R.4545 - Drug Sentencing Reform and Cocaine Kingpin Trafficking Act of 2007
To target cocaine kingpins and address sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine.
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December 13, 2007
Ms. JACKSON-LEE of Texas (for herself, Mr. CLYBURN, Mr. SHAYS, Mr. LEWIS of Georgia, Mr. TOWNS, Mr. DAVIS of Illinois, Mr. SCOTT of Georgia, Mr. JEFFERSON, Mr. WYNN, Mr. ELLISON, Ms. LEE, Mr. SERRANO, Mr. RUSH, Ms. NORTON, Mr. BRADY of Pennsylvania, Mr. CUMMINGS, Mr. FATTAH, Mr. GRIJALVA, Mrs. CHRISTENSEN, Ms. CLARKE, Mr. BISHOP of Georgia, Mr. PAYNE, Mr. MEEKS of New York, and Mr. COHEN) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concernedCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.
SEC. 2. FINDINGS.
(1) Cocaine base (commonly known as `crack cocaine') is made by dissolving cocaine hydrochloride (commonly known as `powder cocaine') in a solution of sodium bicarbonate (or a similar agent) and water. Therefore, crack and powder cocaine are simply different forms of the same substance and all crack cocaine originates as powder cocaine.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) One of the principal objectives of the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986, which established different mandatory minimum penalties for different drugs, was to target Federal law enforcement and prosecutorial resources on serious and major drug traffickers.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) In 1986, Congress linked mandatory minimum penalties to different drug quantities, which were intended to serve as proxies for identifying offenders who were `serious' traffickers (managers of retail drug trafficking) and `major' traffickers (manufacturers or the kingpins who headed drug organizations).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(5) Although drug purity and individual tolerance vary, making it difficult to state with specificity the individual dose of each form of cocaine, 5 grams of powder cocaine generally equals 25 to 50 individual doses and 500 grams of powder cocaine generally equals 2,500 to 5,000 individual doses, while 5 grams of crack cocaine generally equals 10 to 50 individual doses (or enough for a heavy user to consume in one weekend) and 500 grams of crack cocaine generally equals 100 to 500 individual doses.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(6) In part because Congress believed that crack cocaine had unique properties that made it instantly addictive, the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 established an enormous disparity (a 100 to 1 powder-to-crack ratio) in the quantities of powder and crack cocaine that trigger 5- and 10-year mandatory minimum sentences. This disparity permeates the Sentencing Guidelines.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(8) As a result, it takes 100 times more powder cocaine than crack cocaine to trigger the 5- and 10-year mandatory minimum sentences. While it takes 500 grams of powder cocaine to trigger the 5-year mandatory minimum sentence, it takes just 5 grams of crack cocaine to trigger that sentence. Similarly, while it takes 5 kilograms of powder cocaine to trigger the 10-year mandatory minimum sentence, 50 grams of crack cocaine will trigger the same sentence.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(10) Studies comparing usage of powder and crack cocaine have shown that there is little difference between the 2 forms of the drug and fundamentally undermine the current quantity-based sentencing disparity. More specifically, the studies have shown the following:CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(A) Both forms of cocaine cause identical effects, although crack is smoked, while powder cocaine is typically snorted. Epidemiological data show that smoking a drug delivers it to the brain more rapidly, which increases likelihood of addiction. Therefore, differences in the typical method of administration of the two forms of the drug, and not differences in the inherent properties of the two forms of the drug, make crack cocaine potentially more addictive to typical users than powder cocaine. Both forms of the drug are addictive, however, and the treatment protocol for the drug is the same regardless of the form of the drug the patient has used;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) Violence committed by crack users is relatively rare, and overall violence has decreased for both powder and crack cocaine offenses. Almost all crack-related violence is systemic violence that occurs within the drug distribution process. Sentencing enhancements are better suited to punish associated violence, which are separate, pre-existing crimes in and of themselves;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(C) The negative effects of prenatal exposure to crack cocaine were vastly overstated. They are identical to the effects of prenatal exposure to powder cocaine and do not serve as a justification for the sentencing disparity between crack and powder;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(D) Although Congress in the mid-1980s was understandably concerned that the low-cost and potency of crack cocaine would fuel an epidemic of use by minors, the epidemic of crack cocaine use by young people never materialized to the extent feared. In fact, in 2005, the rate of powder cocaine use among young adults was almost 7 times as high as the rate of crack cocaine use. Furthermore, sentencing data suggest that young people do not play a major role in crack cocaine trafficking at the Federal level;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(E) The current 100:1 penalty structure undermines various congressional objectives set forth in the Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986. Data collected by the United States Sentencing Commission show that federal resources have been targeted at offenders who are subject to the mandatory minimum sentences, which sweep in low-level crack cocaine users and dealers.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(11) In 1988, Congress set a mandatory minimum sentence for mere possession of crack cocaine, the only controlled substance for which there is a mandatory minimum sentence for simple possession for a first-time offender.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(13) Contrary to Congress's objective of focusing Federal resources on drug kingpins, the majority of Federal powder and crack cocaine offenders are those who perform low level functions in the supply chain.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(14) As a result of the low-level drug quantities that trigger lengthy mandatory minimum penalties for crack cocaine, the concentration of lower level Federal offenders is particularly pronounced among crack cocaine offenders, more than half of whom were street level dealers in 2005.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(15) The Departments of Justice, Treasury, and Homeland Security are the agencies with the greatest capacity to investigate, prosecute and dismantle the highest level of drug trafficking organizations, but investigations and prosecutions of low-level offenders divert Federal personnel and resources from the prosecution of the highest-level traffickers, for which such agencies are best suited.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(16) The unwarranted sentencing disparity not only overstates the relative harmfulness of the two forms of the drug and diverts Federal resources from high-level drug traffickers. It also disproportionately affects the African-American community. According to the United States Sentencing Commission's May 2007 Report, 82 percent of Federal crack cocaine offenders sentenced in 2006 were African-American, while 8 percent were Hispanic and 8 percent were white.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 3. COCAINE SENTENCING DISPARITY ELIMINATION.
SEC. 4. ELIMINATION OF MANDATORY MINIMUM FOR SIMPLE POSSESSION.
SEC. 5. INCREASED EMPHASIS ON CERTAIN AGGRAVATING AND MITIGATING FACTORS.
Pursuant to its authority under
(2) adequately take into account the culpability of the defendant and the role of the defendant in the offense, including consideration of whether enhancements should be added, either to the existing enhancements for aggravating role or otherwise, that take into account aggravating factors associated with the offense, including--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(F) whether the defendant manufactured or distributed the controlled substance in a location described in section 409(a) or section 419(a) of the Controlled Substances Act (
SEC. 6. OFFENDER DRUG TREATMENT INCENTIVE GRANTS.
(a) Grant Program Authorized- The Attorney General shall carry out a grant program under which the Attorney General may make grants to States, units of local government, territories, and Indian tribes in an amount described in subsection (c) to improve the provision of drug treatment to offenders in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) IN GENERAL- To be eligible to receive a grant under subsection (a) for a fiscal year, an entity described in that subsection shall, in addition to any other requirements specified by the Attorney General, submit to the Attorney General an application that demonstrates that, with respect to offenders in prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities who require drug treatment and who are in the custody of the jurisdiction involved, during the previous fiscal year that entity provided drug treatment meeting the standards established by the Single State Authority for Substance Abuse (as that term is defined in section 201) for the relevant State to a number of such offenders that is 2 times the number of such offenders to whom that entity provided drug treatment during the fiscal year that is 2 years before the fiscal year for which that entity seeks a grant.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Allocation of Grant Amounts Based on Drug Treatment Percent Demonstrated- The Attorney General shall allocate amounts under this section for a fiscal year based on the percent of offenders described in subsection (b)(1) to whom an entity provided drug treatment in the previous fiscal year, as demonstrated by that entity in its application under that subsection.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) to strengthen rehabilitation efforts for offenders by providing addiction recovery support services, such as job training and placement, education, peer support, mentoring, and other similar services.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(e) Reports- An entity that receives a grant under subsection (a) during a fiscal year shall, not later than the last day of the following fiscal year, submit to the Attorney General a report that describes and assesses the uses of such grant.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 7. GRANTS FOR DEMONSTRATION PROGRAMS TO REDUCE DRUG USE SUBSTANCE ABUSERS.
(a) Awards Required- The Attorney General may make competitive grants to eligible partnerships, in accordance with this section, for the purpose of establishing demonstration programs to reduce the use of alcohol and other drugs by supervised substance abusers during the period in which each such substance abuser is in prison, jail, or a juvenile facility, and until the completion of parole or court supervision of such abuser.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) to support the efforts of the agencies, organizations, and researchers included in the eligible partnership, with respect to the program for which a grant is awarded under this section;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) to provide addiction recovery support services (such as job training and placement, peer support, mentoring, education, and other related services) to strengthen rehabilitation efforts for substance abusers.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Application- To be eligible for a grant under subsection (a) for a demonstration program, an eligible partnership shall submit to the Attorney General an application that--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) includes a plan for using judicial or other criminal or juvenile justice authority to supervise the substance abusers who would participate in a demonstration program under this section, including for--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) swiftly and certainly imposing an established set of graduated sanctions for non-compliance with conditions for reentry into the community relating to drug abstinence (whether imposed as a pre-trial, probation, or parole condition, or otherwise);CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) includes a plan to provide supervised substance abusers with coordinated and continuous services that are based on evidence-based strategies and that assist such abusers by providing such abusers with--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(B) continued treatment during the period in which each such substance abuser is in prison, jail, or a juvenile facility, and until the completion of parole or court supervision of such abuser;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(4) includes a plan for coordinating the data infrastructures among the entities included in the eligible partnership and between such entities and the providers of services under the demonstration program involved (including providers of technical assistance) to assist in monitoring and measuring the effectiveness of demonstration programs under this section; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) INTERIM REPORT- Not later than September 30, 2008, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress a report that identifies the best practices relating to the comprehensive and coordinated treatment of substance abusers, including the best practices identified through the activities funded under this section.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) FINAL REPORT- Not later than September 30, 2009, the Attorney General shall submit to Congress a report on the demonstration programs funded under this section, including on the matters specified in paragraph (1).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(C) a researcher who has experience in evidence-based studies that measure the effectiveness of treating long-term substance abusers during the period in which such abusers are under the supervision of the criminal or juvenile justice system involved;CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(D) community-based organizations that provide drug treatment, related recovery services, job training and placement, educational services, housing assistance, mentoring, or medical services; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(C) is scheduled to be released from prison, jail, or a juvenile facility during the 24-month period beginning on the date the relevant application is submitted under subsection (c).CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(3) SINGLE STATE AUTHORITY FOR SUBSTANCE ABUSE- The term `Single State Authority for Substance Abuse' means an entity designated by the Governor or chief executive officer of a State as the single State administrative authority responsible for the planning, development, implementation, monitoring, regulation, and evaluation of substance abuse services in that State.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 8. EMERGENCY AUTHORITY FOR UNITED STATES SENTENCING COMMISSION.
(1) promulgate amendments pursuant to the directives in this Act in accordance with the procedure set forth in section 21(a) of the Sentencing Act of 1987 (
(2) pursuant to the emergency authority provided in paragraph (1), make such conforming amendments to the Sentencing Guidelines as the Commission determines necessary to achieve consistency with other guideline provisions and applicable law.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Promulgation- The Commission shall promulgate any amendments under subsection (a) promptly so that the amendments take effect on the same date as the amendments made by this Act.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 9. INCREASED PENALTIES FOR MAJOR DRUG TRAFFICKERS.
(a) Increased Penalties for Manufacture, Distribution, Dispensation, or Possession With Intent To Manufacture, Distribute, or Dispense- Section 401(b)(1) of the Controlled Substances Act (
(1) in subparagraph (A), by striking `$4,000,000', `$10,000,000', `$8,000,000', and `$20,000,000' and inserting `$10,000,000', `$50,000,000', `$20,000,000', and `$75,000,000', respectively; andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) in subparagraph (B), by striking `$2,000,000', `$5,000,000', `$4,000,000', and `$10,000,000' and inserting `$5,000,000', `$25,000,000', `$8,000,000', and `$50,000,000', respectively.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(1) in paragraph (1), by striking `$4,000,000', `$10,000,000', `$8,000,000', and `$20,000,000' and inserting `$10,000,000', `$50,000,000', `$20,000,000', and `$75,000,000', respectively, andCommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(2) in paragraph (2), by striking `$2,000,000', `$5,000,000', `$4,000,000', and `$10,000,000' and inserting `$5,000,000', `$25,000,000', `$8,000,000', and `$50,000,000', respectively.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 10. AUTHORIZATION OF APPROPRIATIONS AND REQUIRED REPORT.
(a) Authorization of Appropriations for Department of Justice- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Department of Justice not more than $36,000,000 for each of the fiscal years 2008 and 2009 for the prosecution of high-level drug offenses, of which--CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(b) Authorization of Appropriations for Department of Treasury- There is authorized to be appropriated to the Department of the Treasury for salaries and expenses of the Financial Crime Enforcement Network (FINCEN) not more than $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009 in support of the prosecution of high-level drug offenses.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(c) Authorization of Appropriations for Department of Homeland Security- There is authorized to be appropriated for the Department of Homeland Security not more than $10,000,000 for each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009 for salaries and expenses in support of the prosecution of high-level drug offenses.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(d) Additional Funds- Amounts authorized to be appropriated under this section shall be in addition to amounts otherwise available for, or in support of, the prosecution of high-level drug offenses.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
(e) Report of Comptroller General- Not later than 180 days after the end of each of fiscal years 2008 and 2009, the Comptroller General shall submit to the Committees on the Judiciary and the Committees on Appropriations of the Senate and House of Representatives a report containing information on the actual uses made of the funds appropriated pursuant to the authorization of this section.CommentsClose CommentsPermalink
SEC. 11. EFFECTIVE DATE.
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