Police Case, Holder Drug Move May Ease Crime Policies’ Impact on Blacks


Do the coincidental ruling against New York City’s stop-and-frisk practices and Attorney General Eric Holder’s call for a new look at drug sentencing mark a turning point in the war on crime? The New York Times asked the question and got mixed comments. Ohio State University law Prof. Michelle Alexander, who wrote a 2010 book “The New Jim Crow,” said the two developments gave her a sense of “cautious optimism.”

Former federal prosecutor William Otis, now at Georgetown Law School, called Holder's move a victory for drug dealers that would incentivize sales of addictive contraband; he suggested that the stop-and-frisk ruling could be overturned on appeal. Criminologist Alfred Blumstein of Carnegie Mellon University said Holder's speech and the stop-and-frisk ruling both addressed polices that “were attempts to stop crime, but they weren't terribly effective.” He said the events indicated society was “trying to become more effective and more targeted and, in the process, to reduce the heavy impact on particularly African-Americans.”

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