By Larry Schwartztol
In federal court, crack offenses generate sentences 100 times greater than comparable powder-cocaine crimes. In other words, while it takes 500 grams of cocaine to trigger a five-year mandatory minimum sentence, 5 grams of crack earns the same punishment. Last month, four senators introduced a bill to close that gap. The proposed bipartisan legislation, sponsored by Republicans John Cornyn and Jeff Sessions along with Democrats Mark Pryor and Ken Salazar, would reduce the penalty ratio from 100-to-1 to 20-to-1 by increasing powder penalties slightly while decreasing crack sentences significantly.