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Dwayne B.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26818
Experience:  Numerous criminal trials ranging from traffic to murder, practicing Criminal Law for 20+ years.
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I was reading that today a number of prisoners convicted and

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I was reading that today a number of prisoners convicted and sentenced unfairly on possession of crack cocaine will be released as early as today. My question is, why does this law not affect all prisoners who were convicted on charges of possession or whatever of crack cocaine? Why is there a line drawn between whether a person was convicted by state versus federal law? I live in SC and am wondering why this law is not for all people convicted unfairly.
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Criminal Law
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.
They don't give a specific reason but my guess is because they don't want a bunch of lawsuits to come in saying that they were held past the "legal" date. In addition, laws usually require a "date certain" in order to meet Constitutional requirements.

Also, this law isn't really directed at people who were "convicted and sentenced unfairly". It is designed to get around the fact that the treatment of people convicted for crack cocaine disproportionally affected African Americans since crack is more endemic to that culture and regular cocaine is not. The original justification for the law was that crack was more addictive and thus a greater danger.

Thank you for allowing me to assist you. As you know, we work on the honor system here and cannot always provide you answers that you like. I believe I have answered all of the questions you asked so I would request that you please click the ACCEPT button so I receive credit for my work and leave feedback if you have a chance. Please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done, although this is neither required nor expected. I believe in giving information that is to the point, but please remember that I can only base our answers on the information you provide and sometimes a misunderstanding as to what you are looking for or already know occurs so feel free to ask additional questions or for clarifications. Be very careful about looking at other internet sites that just post generic information without any inquiry into your facts because often those answers are dated, wrong, or wrong as applied to your facts. Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information. You should always contact a local attorney for legal advice.

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Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I'm sorry, but I don't understand. What does "date certain" really mean and how can it meet Constitutional requirements. And, if African Americans, in South Carolina, have been disproportionally affected, what difference does it make whether or not the law is federal or state? Doesn't federal law "trump" state law? If I was convicted based on state law, why can't I be released based on the fact that the US Justice Department has agreed I should be set free because as an African American, I was affected unfairly?

Thank you.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.
A date certain means that it has to be a specific date. The Constitution has been interpreted to mean that laws must be specific and that includes dates.

Are you asking about a specific SC law or about the recently enacted federal law dealing with sentencing?

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Well, I don't know for sure, but maybe it's a specific SC law; all I know is that here in SC there are women and men in our SC prisons who are not benefiting from the this recent Justice Department decision and when I asked around, I was told that decision would only be for federal confictions. I just don't understand the difference and wonder if in SC this is another way of holding African American in prisons longer. What dictates the difference between the two? In other words, if I got caught with crack cocain, what determines if I am convicted based on federal law or state law? I believe this is what I need to know.

Thank you.
Expert:  Dwayne B. replied 2 years ago.
The recent law was passed to address the federal sentencing guidelines specifically and nothing to do with state laws at all. Since the state laws don't use the federal sentencing guidelines they wouldn't be affected.

There doesn't appear to be a difference in the SC sentencing laws between crack and regular cocaine and so the rationale wouldn't apply either.

Thank you for allowing me to assist you. As you know, we work on the honor system here and cannot always provide you answers that you like. I believe I have answered all of the questions you asked so I would request that you please click the ACCEPT button so I receive credit for my work and leave feedback if you have a chance. Please consider clicking "BONUS" as a nice way of saying "thanks" for a job well done, although this is neither required nor expected. I believe in giving information that is to the point, but please remember that I can only base our answers on the information you provide and sometimes a misunderstanding as to what you are looking for or already know occurs so feel free to ask additional questions or for clarifications. Be very careful about looking at other internet sites that just post generic information without any inquiry into your facts because often those answers are dated, wrong, or wrong as applied to your facts. Please be aware that my answer is not legal advice, it is merely information. You should always contact a local attorney for legal advice.

Several customers have asked how they direct a question to me in particular. If you specifically want me to provide information for you just put “FOR JD 1992” in the subject line and I will pick up the next time I am online.
Dwayne B., Lawyer
Category: Criminal Law
Satisfied Customers: 26818
Experience: Numerous criminal trials ranging from traffic to murder, practicing Criminal Law for 20+ years.
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