Oct 22, 1999
We've all heard occasional news stories about how some of the drug laws enacted in the last 15 years may have gone too far. First time offenders get locked up for decades. Judges—even Republican appointees—say that mandatory minimum sentences prevent them from making fair rulings. But have sentences really gone too far?
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This hour examines the areas where a consensus is growing on the problems in federal drug laws, and it explains the areas where drug laws seem to be administered fairly.
- Before this show ended we wanted to know—how typical are the horror stories? What happens in a typical drug case? To find out, reporter Nancy Updike spent nine hours in Night Narcotics Court in Chicago. What she discovers is that the system is working as fairly as one could hope or expect, with one caveat: Nearly all the defendants are African-American, even though the jurisdiction contains an equal number of white drug users. (15 minutes)
From Chuck Coker.