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Thousands of crack sentences could be reduced

March 3, 2008

Rules taking effect this week intended to bring fairness to drug penalties

NEW YORK – Marsha Cunningham was no drug dealer. But when authorities busted her boyfriend in the 1990s for selling crack and powdered cocaine, they also arrested her on a crack possession charge.

Her sentence: Fifteen years behind bars, only two less than her boyfriend got.

But Cunningham is now one of nearly 20,000 inmates convicted of crack offenses who may see their prison terms reduced under new federal guidelines intended to bring retroactive fairness to drug sentencing.

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