Presidential candidate Hillary Clinton’s statement that she does not favor making retroactive the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s plan to ease sentencing guidelines for crack cocaine defendants suggests that she “favors tough-on-crime rhetoric over sound sentencing policy. Now who should be accused of taking a page out of the Republican play book?,” says Ohio State University law Prof. Douglas Berman in blog Sentencing Law & Policy.
Clinton said in an Iowa debate, “In principle I have problems with retroactivity. It’s something a lot of communities will be concerned about as well.” Her pollster, Mark Penn, told The Politico that Republican front-runner Rudy Giuliani has signaled that he will attack Democrats on releasing people convicted of drug crimes. Her five rivals on stage – Illinois Sen. Barack Obama, Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd, former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich – all said they favor making the shorter sentences retroactive. “Rudy Giuliani is already going after the issue,” Penn said. “He’s already starting to attack Democrats, claiming it will release 20,000 convicted drug dealers.”