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US Justice Dept orders prosecutors to seek toughest sentences

13 Mai 2017

But such exercises of discretion, the attorney general said, would be subject to high-level approval. Previously, deputy attorney general Sally Yates had ordered the Justice Department to stop using private prisons for federal inmates, due to declining inmate numbers.

The aim was to end a common absurdity in American law enforcement: small-time drug busts that lead to decades-long prison terms for people who do not fit the profile of a risky, hardened criminal.

Sessions has specifically cited the dangers drugs pose to society as a rationale for stronger sentences.

Under former president Barack Obama, a Democrat, the Justice Department had sought to reduce mandatory-minimum sentences to reduce jail time for low-level drug crimes and ease overcrowding at federal USA prisons.

The most "serious" crimes are determined by which offenses carry the longest sentences, according to guidelines. "This policy confirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency".

Horner was sentenced to 25 years for selling a few pain pills to an informant, after the informant befriended him and said he couldn't afford medication for his own ailments.

The federal directive won't affect Morganelli, but the career prosecutor likes mandatory sentences and pursues them when he can in his office, especially in drug cases. Eric H. Holder Jr. "Both parties and the public have expressed a desire in passing sentencing reform - we need to pass a bill on this now more than ever".

U.S. Sen. Cory A. Booker (D., N.J.) also slammed Sessions' policy. Tom Cotton (R-AR). His memo tells prosecutors to charge steeper crimes that would trigger long, mandatory minimum prison sentences. A one-and-a-half page memo issued by the Department of Justice makes clear that any previous policy that is inconsistent with the new directions is no longer in effect.

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However, some local leaders agree tougher sentencing is not the way to reduce crime. Attorney General Sessions is preserving the government drug operation at the expense of the people.

The shift was philosophically consistent with Congress' work to shrink - but not end - the racist sentencing disparities between cases involving crack and powder cocaine. These are not low-level offenders.

Sessions and his boss never got with the times. Following the memo's release, Holder issued a blistering statement calling the policy "unwise and ill-informed", and "a reversal driven by voices who have not only been discredited but until now have been relegated to the fringes of this debate".

The ruling echoes the law and order language from President Trump, who has pledged his commitment to supporting police and law enforcement.

In a memorandum to Sessions, Rosenstein wrote that over the past year, "the FBI's reputation and credibility have suffered substantial damage, and it has affected the entire Department of Justice".

But Sanders also said the Trump White House isn't trying to quash the investigation and they didn't plan to appoint a special prosecutor.

Say, if you're intersted in the power of prosecutors, you should register to attend Reason's upcoming panel discussion on the subject, featuring Fordham University law professor John Pfaff, author of Locked in: The True Causes of Mass Incarceration and How to Achieve Real Reform; Ken White, a criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor whom you probably know better as Popehat; and the Reason Foundation's director of criminal justice reform, Lauren Krisai.

US Justice Dept orders prosecutors to seek toughest sentences