Man Freed Over Crack Term Back in Prison; U.S. Attorney Fought Change


A Maryland man who got out of federal prison in December when his crack cocaine sentence was reduced was sent back prison this week after being sentenced to 11 years for distributing drugs, reports the Baltimore Sun. Clevon “Ty” Johnson, 38, went back to his old career less than a year after walking out of prison.

Revisions in federal crack cocaine sentencing guidelines are resulting in reductions of sentences for some defendants. The changes are nationwide, and are spurred by concerns that crack laws are more severe than for power cocaine, resulting in racial disparities. Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosentstein objected to the changes, saying that often his office gets convictions in drug cases that are easier to prosecute than violent offenses. The long sentences means justice is served either way. That tool may now be gone. “In some cases, their record may not reflect the violent crimes in which they were engaged,” Rosenstein said. “When prosecutors had these crack penalties, they used those to incarcerate people for lengthy periods of time without proving the violence. It’s much more complicated to prove that somebody’s involved in shootings and murder.”

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