On April 17, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear the oral argument in “Dorsey and Hill v. United States”—a consolidated case about the application of the Fair Sentencing Act of 2010 to all those sentenced after the law was enacted.
And Saturday, April 7 on C-SPAN Radio’s Historic Supreme Court oral argument and cited in “Dorsey v. U.S:” From 2007: “Derrick Kimbrough, petitioner v. United States, respondent.”
In 1986, during the Reagan administration's anti-drug initiative, Congress enacted a federal sentencing policy of punishing crimes involving crack cocaine at a 100-to-1 ratio, compared to crimes involving powder cocaine. Congress declined to repeal the 100-to-1 ratio despite the U.S. sentencing commission's contention that the ratio led to exaggerated sentences for crack dealers.
In 2004 in Virginia, Derrick Kimbrough pleaded guilty to distributing fifty or more grams of crack cocaine, along with other drug- and firearm-related offenses. The federal sentencing guidelines prescribed a sentence of between 19 and 22 years; but the District Court judge considered this sentence "ridiculous." Citing the sentencing commission's reports, the judge decided to depart from the 100-to-1 ratio and hand down a sentence of 15 years. After several appeals, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.