NEW YORK (AP) — 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 up to 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.
"Marsha is a really good person," said her aunt, Ruby Jones of Houston. "She got caught up in this behind her boyfriend."
The sentencing guidelines went into effect Monday — the result of a December decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to ease the way the system came down far harder on crack-related crimes than on those involving powdered cocaine.