Monday, 25 September, 2017

U.S. orders toughest sentences for criminals, reversing Obama easing

Jeff Sessions U.S. orders toughest sentences for criminals, reversing Obama easing
Francis Olson | 14 May, 2017, 22:52

U.S. attorney general Jeff Sessions has issued a memo to federal prosecutors around the country, directing them to seek harsher penalties for low-level offenses-bringing back the type of policy that contributed to the ballooning mass- incarceration system in the United States. His memo tells prosecutors to charge steeper crimes that would trigger long, mandatory minimum prison sentences.

Now, if prosecutors wish to pursue lesser charges for these low-level crimes, they will need to obtain approval for the exception from a US attorney, assistant attorney general or another supervisor.

Ms Chettiar said ignoring prosecutors' discretion and issuing blanket mandatory minimums is "what led to this mess of mass incarceration".

Sessions' approach is almost the exact opposite taken by the Obama Administration, which instructed prosecutors to do their best to avoid triggering mandatory minimum sentences when charging some low-level, non-violent drug offenders.

"But on the face of it you would expect that the sentences, particularly in drug trafficking cases, would be longer", Harvey said.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul strongly opposed the Department of Justice directive, which reverses an Obama-era policy that prescribed leniency for nonviolent, low-level drug offenders. The memo concedes there will be cases in which "good judgment" will warrant a prosecutor to veer from that rule.

Holder's memo to undo certain mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines was one of the few Obama Justice Department policies championed by small government conservatives.

The directive abolishes guidance by Sessions' Democratic predecessor, Eric Holder, who said prosecutors could in some cases omit drug quantities from charging documents so as to not generate long sentences.

Macron meets supporters ahead of inauguration
France's new president has made his first visit after his inauguration to a military hospital in the Paris suburb of Clamart. Macron then headed to the Arc de Triomphe for the wreath-laying ceremony at the tomb of the unknown soldier.

JEFF SESSIONS: We intend to reverse this trend.

The changes will likely increase the number of people charged as well as the size of the federal prison population. Almost half of those inmates are in custody for drug crimes, records show. During remarks at the Sergeants Benevolent Association Awards presentation in New York City on Friday, Sessions said his new approach is simply the "right and moral thing to do", noting upticks in violent crime in several cities across the USA and linking those surges to drugs.

This statement, released Friday (May 12), rolls back a crucial Obama-era policy in the Justice Department, aimed at mitigating harsh sentencing laws imposed in the past.

Holder's approach included legislation to reduce some mandatory minimum sentences. "So we are returning to the enforcement of the law as passed by Congress - plain and simple".

Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration, an organization of almost 200 current and former police chiefs, sheriffs, and prosecutors, called the move an "ineffective way to protect public safety". If you would like to discuss another topic, look for a relevant article.

Be Civil - It's OK to have a difference in opinion but there's no need to be a jerk.

"Now we're dealing with the 28-year-old mother who used to jog 5 miles a morning who sprained her knee, or the coal miner in Appalachia who hurt his back", Johnson said.

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