Court: Fair Sentencing Act Applies Retroactively

Law eliminates sentencing disparities for crack and powder cocaine sentences


The Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 should apply to all defendants, including those sentenced prior to its passage, according to a decision issued by the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals today. The FSA reduced the sentencing disparity between offenses for crack and powder cocaine from 100:1 to 18:1.

"This decision could make a real difference in the lives of men and women currently serving needlessly cruel and very long mandatory minimum sentences for what are often low-level, non-violent drug offenses," said Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office. "The Fair Sentencing Act and its retroactive application are important steps toward ending our country's misguided, ineffective, and harmful war on drugs. However, while we are celebrating this landmark decision for racial justice, we must not lose sight of our ultimate goal to remove all disparities between crack and powder cocaine sentencing."