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Principale » Attorney general orders tougher sentences, rolling back Obama policy

Attorney general orders tougher sentences, rolling back Obama policy

13 Mai 2017

Criminal justice reform is yet another area for coordination and cooperation on both sides of the aisle but, this Administration is insistent on going in the wrong direction.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions said that he has directed his federal prosecutors to pursue criminals with the most severe penalties possible, including mandatory minimum sentences, the media reported. The Ashcroft Memo, from which Eric Holder departed, forbade U.S. Attorneys from ever charging the lesser included offense and always charging the most serious readily provable offense.

"To be tough on crime we have to be smart on crime. It's dumb on crime", Holder said in a statement. This change, announced by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, reverses lighter sentencing rules established under the Obama administration. Sessions held a news conference on the new policy earlier Friday and Trump has said he made a decision to fire Comey because the President thought he was doing a bad job and for being a "showboat". But Sessions has said a spike in violence in some big cities shows the need for a return to tougher tactics.

Mr Obama had sought to ease mandatory minimum sentences to reduce jail time for low-level drug crimes and help relieve overcrowded prisons in the United States as part of criminal justice reform.

Lawrence Leiser says the policy will "restore the tools that Congress intended" federal prosecutors to use to punish drug traffickers and dismantle gangs.

"I agree with Attorney General Sessions that law enforcement should side with the victims of crime rather than its perpetrators", he said in a statement.

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Before he was tapped by President Donald Trump to be attorney general, Sessions was an Alabama senator who has long professed a mentality pervasive during the War on Drugs in the 1980s and 1990s, when prosecutors sought to address the crack-cocaine epidemic and violent crime through aggressive enforcement of federal laws.

"The opioid and heroin epidemic is a contributor to the recent surge of violent crime in America", Sessions said in remarks prepared for a Thursday speech in Charleston, West Virginia.

Johnson and Harvey said federal prosecutors should be focused on large-scale drug trafficking organizations and cartels, and they said they see signs that the Justice Department under Sessions would aggressively pursue those cases. The repeal of those laws led to a drop in recidivism, crime and the prison population, while also kicking off a nationwide movement for more humane drug policy, according to Schneiderman. It's always been expected from the former prosecutor who has made fighting violent crime the Justice Department's priority. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, has been one of the most vocal Republicans leading the effort and was critical of Sessions' new policy.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., applauded the change, saying it was "common sense" and will help reduce crime and drug use.

Still, some prosecutors felt constrained by the Holder directive and expressed concern that they'd lose plea bargaining leverage - and a key inducement for cooperation - without the ability to more freely pursue harsher punishments.

Former U.S. Attorney Kerry Harvey, who was the top federal prosecutor for the eastern half of Kentucky, said he was concerned that a multifaceted approach emphasizing prevention and treatment was being abandoned by the Trump administration.

Attorney general orders tougher sentences, rolling back Obama policy