Willie Mays Aikens Talks To Congress About US Drug Laws
Former Major Leaguer Willie Mays Aikens spoke to a Congressional panel today about his ordeal with drugs and how the differences in sentencing between crack and powder cocaine is unfair.
Aikens was convicted in 1994 of distributing crack cocaine, bribery, and illegal possession of a firearm. At the time, laws were much more strict for crimes involving crack cocaine than powdered cocaine because of the belief that crack was a far greater social menace.
The disparity between crack and powdered cocaine in the eyes of the law can be great. For instance, a person convicted of selling 50 grams of crack receives a mandatory minimum 10 years in prison. A drug dealer would have to be caught 5 kilograms of powder to receive a similar punishment.
Aikens believes that disparity put him behind bars for a long time.
Aikens said he obtained powder cocaine on several occasions for a woman who always insisted he convert it to its rock form. The woman turned out to be an undercover cop.
"She knew if she left my house with crack cocaine, I stood a chance of receiving a much stiffer sentence," Aikens said when asked if he felt he was a victim of entrapment.
After successfully petitioning the court for a reduced sentence, Aikens was released from jail after serving 14 years out of his 20-year sentence.
Aikens spoke to the House Judiciary Committee about the disparity in sentencing for crack and powder cocaine the damage it has on the justice system.
Willie Mays Aikens spent more than a decade in the Major Leagues with the California Angels, Kansas City Royals, and Toronto Blue Jays. His career was cut short due to his drug addiction. He played in the 1980 World Series which saw his Kansas City Royals lose to the Philadelphia Phillies.
His career was marred with drug problems. Prior to his 20-year sentence, Aikens and teammates Willie Wilson and Jerry Martin were convicted of purchasing cocaine.