The Facts: Schumer v. Pickering

Glaring Racial Insensitivity?

Finally, writes York, "Pickering got word from the Civil Rights Division prosecutors, who said they had decided to drop the demand that Swan be given the five-year-minimum portion of the recommended sentence. Pickering then sentenced Swan to 27 months in jail."

When he sentenced Swan, Pickering told him that he had committed "a despicable act," and added that this is "an area that we've got to stamp out. . . . We've got to live among each other."

Ted Kennedy has charged that Pickering, while coming down hard on black defendants, showed selective leniency against this white defendant. I have copies of letters from four lawyers in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, who represented separate black defendants before Pickering. He made significant downward departures from federal sentencing guidelines in each case.

In one, a first-time offender, on drugs since he was eight, was given a sentence light enough to allow him to get rehabilitation services in prison. "This may have been," said his lawyer, "a positive, life-changing experience" for his client. But Schumer and Maureen Dowd keep on jiving.

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