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Comprehensive Sentencing Reform Through Retroactive Amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines

WHEREAS, the Sentencing Commission has executed provisions within the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines which resulted in the unconstitutional and disparate treatment of convicted felons, to wit: The biased sentencing and incarceration practices and policies of the federal government perpetrated against African and Hispanic Americans; and

WHEREAS, the intended purpose of formulating the United States Federal Sentencing Guidelines was to ensure uniform and unbiased sentencing of every offender, due to unchecked and unfettered judicial discretion; and

WHEREAS, the NAACP Washington Bureau, as well as nationally recognized prisoner advocacy and reform groups such as: FedCure, FAMM (Families Against Mandatory Minimum), Middle Ground, Sentencing Project Policy, Justice Policy Institute, and November Coalition, all agree that studies have concluded that African and Hispanic Americans disproportionately suffer much harsher and lengthier prison sentences than White Americans, under the current United States Sentencing Guidelines scheme, especially as it applies to prior offenses and drug offenses; and

WHEREAS, the herein outlined and proposed amendments be equitable in addressing past and present unconstitutional and disparate treatment of African, Hispanic and poor Americans within the judicial system, that have been inflicted as a result of the unconstitutional mandatory and current advisory guidelines.

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the NAACP stands collectively opposed to current Mandatory Minimum laws in any form, and united behind the restoration of judicial discretion (discretionary powers) back into the perimeters of our nation's judges, within constitutional limits, as set forth in Apprendi vs. New Jersey, Blakely vs. Washington, and United States vs. Booker; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the proposed amendments shall replace current Amendments 307, 487, 5c1.2 of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, which shall read as follows:

  1. Statutorv Mission Amendment 307

    The judge must select a sentence from within the guideline range. 

    However, if a particular case presents atypical features, the amendment would allow the judge to depart from the guidelines and sentence the offender outside of the guideline range.

    In such cases, the judge must specify the reason(s) for the guidelines departure, per Title 18 U. S. C. 3553 (in doing so, the judge shall not violate the offender's Fifth and Sixth Amendment Rights to indictment and trial by jury, as set forth in Apprendi vs. New Jersey, 520 US 466 (2000); Blakely vs. Washington, 159 LED 

    2d 403 (2004); and United States vs. Booker, 125 S. 738 (2005).

    If the court sentences the offender within the guidelines range, an appellate court may review the sentence to determine if the guidelines were correctly applied. Moreover, an appellate court may review not only the correctness of the applicable guidelines, but the reasonableness and correctness of any departure as well, per title 18 U.S. C. 3742. This Amendment shall be retroactive in its application to all cases dating back from the inception of the United States Sentencing Guidelines, November 1. 1987: and
  2. Clarification of Cocaine Base Penalties for Enhancement Purposes -Amendment 487.

    "Cocaine Base," for the purpose of these guidelines means any form of cocaine base that has a different chemical composition than cocaine hydrochloride. This clarifying Amendment shall be retroactively applied to all cases under the United States Sentencing Guidelines, enacted November 1. 1987; and
  3. The Repeal of All Mandatorv Minimum Laws Associated With The So-Called 'War On Drugs" Amendment 5c1.2 In the case(s) of an offense under Sections 401, 404, and 406, of the Control Substance Act, or any other relative drug possession statutes, the court shall impose a sentence in accordance with the aforementioned guidelines, notwithstanding, any other provisions of the law, to also include Title 18 U.S. C. 3553 (f) 1-5.

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NAACP take a stand collectively to take a prudent approach to adequate legal redress, to resolve the shameful and unjust prosecutorial and sentencing practices perpetrated on African and Hispanic Americans, and to protect the civil and human rights of American citizens and prisoners who suffer harsh mass punishment through unjust and draconian laws, as a moral compass and obligation. Seek for a fair and equitable resolution by the re-establishment of federal parole for all federal prisoners; seek the support of the NAACP's Multi-Media Campaign to publicly demand that President Obama, the U.S. Congress, and the U.S. Sentencing Commission amend and adopt guidelines that reflect a more constitutionally fair and equitable sentencing scheme by repeal of the present biased and racially insensitive provisions and statutes of the Comprehensive Crime Control Act of 1984 and Anti-Drug Act of 1986.