Dear Democracy Now! Visitor: We are an independent, ad-free daily news program that serves millions of viewers and listeners each month. In this US election year, Democracy Now! is more important than ever. For 20 years, we’ve put a spotlight on corporate and government abuses of power. We 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. A generous funder will match your donation dollar for dollar if you donate right now. That means when you give $10, your donation will be worth $20. Pretty exciting, right? So, if you've been waiting to make your contribution to Democracy Now!, today is your day. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you every day.

Your Donation: $

Kemba Smith and Mandatory Minimum Drug Sentencing

September 17, 1999
Story
WATCH FULL SHOW

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:


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.