Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. Our show is special because we make it our priority to go where the silence is. We put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power and lift up the stories of ordinary people working to make change in extraordinary times. We do all of this with just a fraction of the budget and staff of a commercial news show. We do it without ads, corporate sponsorship or government funding. How is this possible? Only with your support. If everyone who visited our website in the next week donated just $15, we would cover all of our operating costs for the year. We can't do it without you. Please donate today. It takes just a couple of minutes to do your part to make sure Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else.

Your Donation: $
Friday, September 17, 1999 FULL SHOW | HEADLINES | PREVIOUS: East Timorese Refugees in West Timor
1999-09-17

Kemba Smith and Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing

download:   Get CD/DVD More Formats
This is viewer supported news

When will justice be served and the punishment fit the crime? Those questions are being asked by the parents of 28-year-old Kemba Smith, a casualty of this country’s war on drugs and what many believe are unjust federal drug sentencing laws. Kemba, a first-time offender, is serving nearly 25 years in federal prison on charges stemming from an abusive relationship with a reputed drug dealer. National media have covered Kemba’s case over the past few years, beginning with a cover story in the May 1996 edition of Emerge magazine.

Last month, a federal judge in Norfolk, Virginia denied an appeal seeking a new trial for Smith, calling her part in the drug trafficking conspiracy "direct and extensive." Gus and Odessa Smith, Kemba’s parents, are leading a national crusade to call attention to federal mandatory drug sentencing laws that led to their daughter’s excessively harsh sentence. Yesterday, they participated in a congressional drug issue forum sponsored by Rep. Maxine Waters and the Congressional Black Caucus.

Guest:

  • Gus And Odessa Smith, parents of Kemba Smith.

Related links:


Creative Commons License The original content of this program is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. Please attribute legal copies of this work to democracynow.org. Some of the work(s) that this program incorporates, however, may be separately licensed. For further information or additional permissions, contact us.

This is viewer supported news