Rolling Stone
April 16, 1998

William Greider, the brilliant Washington reporter for Rolling Stone, decided to investigate the patterns of sentencing in federal courts across the land. He of course knew that a key promise of our constitution was equal protection under the law -- that similarly situated individuals will be treated in similar ways. He also knew Congress had passed several laws designed to improve the consistency of sentencing in different parts of the country. He therefore was fascinated by TRACFED data that showed the median sentence for an individual convicted on drug charges in Florida North, Louisiana East and North Carolina East was 120 months. This compares with 48 months in Pennsylvania East, 18 months in California South and 12 months in Arizona. Part of the explanation, of course, lies in the kinds of cases being brought in the different districts. But on April 16, 1998, Rolling Stone fronted Greider's investigation, "Mandatory Minimums, A National Disgrace."

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