Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Sessions demands harshest possible drug sentences, ending Obama-era flexibility
"Federal prosecutors should resume the old practice of pursuing the sternest possible charges and longest available sentences for all drug crime suspects, Attorney General Jeff Sessions ordered on Friday. The new instructions reverse a memo issued in 2013 by then-Attorney General Eric Holder which sought to radically change America’s prison problem through simple changes to prosecutor behavior. Holder had ordered U.S. attorneys to drop the across-the-board tough-guy act Sessions is reviving and instead reserve the harshest sentencing enhancements and multi-layered indictments available in the law for offenders with clear links to violent crime and organized criminal syndicates. 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 dangerous, hardened criminal. The old practices revived in Friday’s memo from Sessions mean that someone arrested with a small quantity of marijuana could get sentenced to life in jail if they have two previous drug convictions of any kind. Where Holder’s policy recognized that there is a difference between what the letter of the law allows a prosecutor to do and the realities of the individual actions committed by a drug convict, Sessions argues no such gap exists."