INTERNATIONAL: How a first crack cocaine offense led to a life sentence

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INTERNATIONAL: How a first crack cocaine offense led to a life sentence
Sharanda and her daughter Clenesha
Sharanda and her daughter Clenesha
Sharanda and her daughter Clenesha

 

THE WASHINGTON POST – Sharanda Jones — prisoner 33177-077 — struggled to describe the moment in 1999 when a federal judge sentenced her to life in prison after her conviction on a single cocaine offense.

She was a first-time, nonviolent offender.

“I was numb,” Jones said in an interview at the Carswell women’s prison here. “I was thinking about my baby. I thought it can’t be real life in prison.”

Jones, who will turn 48 next week, is one of tens of thousands of inmates who received harsh mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenses during the crack-cocaine epidemic, and whose cases are drawing new attention.

President Obama is visiting a federal prison in Oklahoma Thursday to promote his plan to overhaul the criminal justice system, saying this week, “In far too many cases, the punishment simply doesn’t fit the crime.”

Because of her role as a middle woman between a cocaine buyer and supplier, Jones was accused of being part of a “drug conspiracy” and should have know that the powder would be converted to crack — triggering a greater penalty.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/how-a-first-crack-cocaine-offense-led-to-a-life-sentence/ar-AAd2iDh?ocid=DELLDHP

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  1. Since you're incapable to read or understand, here is the link to the article in question. I have also taken the time to copy/paste part of the article here (below the link) for you also.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/sf/national/2015/07/15/from-a-first-arrest-to-a-life-sentence/

    Because of her role as a middle woman between a cocaine buyer and supplier, Jones was accused of being part of a “drug conspiracy” and should have known that the powder would be converted to crack — triggering a greater penalty.
    Her sentence was then made even more severe with a punishment tool introduced at the height of the drug war that allowed judges in certain cases to “enhance” sentences — or make them longer.
    Jones was hit with a barrage of “enhancements.”
    Her license for a concealed weapon amounted to carrying a gun “in furtherance of a drug conspiracy.”
    Enhancement.
    When she was convicted on one count of seven, prosecutors said her testimony in her defense had been false and therefore an “obstruction of justice.”
    Enhancement.
    Although she was neither the supplier nor the buyer, prosecutors described her as a leader in a drug ring.
    Enhancement.

    By the end, Jones’s sentencing had so many that the federal judge had only one punishment option. With no possibility of parole in the federal system, she was, in effect, sentenced to die in prison.

    Jones almost certainly would not receive such a sentence today. Federal sentencing guidelines in similar drug cases have changed, in particular to end disparities in how the courts treat crack cocaine vs. powder cocaine. And, following a 2005 Supreme Court decision, judges have much greater discretion when they mete out punishment. In the past decade, they gave lower sentences by an average of one-third the guideline range, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

    BUT HEY, NO ONE FORCED HER TO DO DRUGS. FREE COUNTRY, FREE CHOICE. AND DON'T GIVE ME THAT SHE WAS POOR. I WAS POOR, HELL, I'M STILL POOR, BUT I DIDN'T TURN TO DRUGS. I WORKED FOR WHAT I HAVE. IF THE DRUGS SHE WAS DEALING ENDED UP KILLING A FAMILY MEMBER OR RELATIVE, BET YOU'LL WON'T SAY THE PUNISHMENT IS/WAS HARSH. DEAL DRUGS, SOONER OR LATER YOU WILL GET CAUGHT AND PUNISHED.

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    • The politicians pedal drugs ,(CIA) they're well known to introducing crack to the streets for the "Minorities",The jail system along with the Politicians (along with a few rogue judges) took kick backs to see the prisons full.But you wouldn't know that.You're too busy drinking from the juice they feed the sheep.
      These Laws were introduced to keep people of colour behind bars,the law has a double standard,one for coloured folks & one for whites.But you wouldn't know that until your black ass gets caught for a minor offence & when you reach for your wallet to get your ID a cop blows your head away (thinking you were reaching for a gun).Then the cop will be let go free & you'll be nothing but a memory.....Bottom line is the same laws you dealing with drugs are for coloured folks & no one else.

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  2. Wow. Has everything has to be about race? If you read the article, you will read the judge had no other choice, whether the judge was man, woman, black, white or whatever, but he/she had not other choice, but to sentence her to life in prison based on the "enhancers" which was in effect at that time. The judges couldn't deviate from it. Now go read the article again, for real this time. No, I didn't state I put my full confidence in the law, BUT again, IF YOU READ THE ARTICLE, you will understand (nevermind, that's not an option for you bcuz everything for you is about race), you will read whether even though the judge felt like life in prison was too much for the crime, he/she had no choice but to sentence her to life in prison. Shit is so simple to understand.

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      • So laws for blacks should be made only by blacks, same for Asians, Asians for Asians, Whites for Whites, etc, etc? You seem to be an extremely racists person.

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  3. yea that was Super harsh. nonviolent crime first time offender. She should have been given 3-6 yrs max with the opportunity to enroll in programs to get out earlier on good behavior. Ppl here act like they are perfect. "she was a drug dealer so she shud b put away forever". Let any one of your kids or family be caught with coke or crack or heroine or any other drug of that class and they will be given the same charge as her "sale and possession" those two go hand in hand. But i doubt they will get life like this poor lady, and im sure you wouldnt want them to get life either. but guess what, same crime. dont be a hypocrite. What you can do is pray for her that she has learned from her mistake and wants to do better for herself and community and hope she gets out soon. want good for your fellow human being not wish bad.

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  4. Again, apparently you didn't read the entire story. Had nothing to do with the judge being White, Black, Asian, Mexican, etc. It's what she was charged with (as a supplier & transporter) and the "enhancers" the prosecutor used to get her life in prison. The judges hands were tired based on the sentencing guidelines. So again, stop with your racists shit about the judge being white. Go read the ENTIRE story.

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    • I read the entire story & it seems you put all your trust into the Law & everyone of those politicians,Police & Judges are all saints in your book.It's ppl like you the law likes because of the sheepish mentality you have.That Judge had no consideration what so ever & only gave the young lady LIFE because she was of African decent.

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  5. Tristan, what does the colour of the judges skin have to do with her sentence? Read the entire story before jumping on the skin colour of the judge bandwagon. True it was her first time getting caught, BUT she was a drug dealer & supplier. What if the drugs she was transporting and selling ended up killing your son or daughter by overdosing, would you still have your racist view? You wouldn't say anything about the judges skin colour then.

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    • So are you trying to tell me that there are no racist judges or politicians? To put someone behind bars for the rest of their life for a first time offence as a middle (man/woman) is quite ridiculous.The judge was white.I am willing to bet my Left arm it was a white Judge.I don't hear of any white drug offenders spending life in prison,do you?

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  6. Most likely it was a white Judge who handed down that sentence.There are lots of racists who parade around as law makers & ppl in high position who make decisions that can affect an ordinary person's life forever.Now that judge is maybe retired already sipping his drink on his estate without a care in the world while one is left to fend for their life in prison for a minor offence...Smh

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