Bad Hombre Crackdown: Sessions Ramps War on Drug Traffickers

Bad Hombre Crackdown: Sessions Ramps War on Drug Traffickers

"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.

"DOJ should focus on prosecuting violent criminals, not nonviolent drug offenders". If you want to collect a drug debt, you can't file a lawsuit in court.

"The price of heroin is down, the availability is up, and the purity is up", Sessions said. With the new guidelines, federal prosecutors are now required to seek the most severe charges carrying the most severe punishment possible, a stark difference from the more cautious, forgiving guidelines previously in place. Those rules limit a judge's discretion and are typically dictated, for example, by the quantity of drugs involved in a crime.

"There will be circumstances in which good judgment would lead a prosecutor to conclude that a strict application of the above charging policy is not warranted", the memo says.

Kerry Harvey, who was the USA attorney for the Western District of Kentucky until earlier this year, said implementation of the policy will depend on each US attorney's office. "In that case, prosecutors should carefully consider whether an exception may be justified".

Officials say Holder's "Smart on Crime" policy "convoluted the process", and left prosecutors applying the law unevenly, which they said "is not Justice". Holder said Justice Department data showed a year ago that while the number of indictments carrying a mandatory minimum sentence declined since his policy was implemented, prosecutions of high-level drug defendants had increased.

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Obama changed the policy to reduce the number of people behind stuck behind bars for long periods of time for committing low level drug crimes. Both the reversal and the accompanying statement indicate that Sessions anticipated making a move that would increase the prison population once again. Almost half of those inmates are in custody for drug crimes, records show. Sessions has indicated that he will also reverse the Obama-era policy of allowing states to set their own marijuana policies, and head of Homeland Security John Kelly is using the war on drugs to persecute immigrants, pushing to deport individuals for simple marijuana possession. Sessions however, is working to punish and imprison offenders to the fullest extent possible and working to include minimum mandatory sentences.

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 mandatory minimum sentences.

Sessions has repeatedly insisted that drug abuse - specifically the ongoing opioid crisis - can be solved with a "law and order" approach. 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".

Raymond Johnson is a former assistant U.S. Attorney in Birmingham.

"Decades of experience shows we can not arrest and incarcerate our way out of America's drug problem", Brett Tolman, the former United States attorney of Utah, said in a statement.

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