Finally something to like about Attorney General Eric Holder? Politico reports:
Attorney General Eric Holder is calling on the federal government to rein its use of one of the most ubiquitous tools in the war on crime—minimum mandatory sentences—and he’s making a unilateral move to cut down on such sentences in drug cases even as Congress debates a broader rretreat from the once-popular sentencing concept.
“Some statutes that mandate inflexible sentences–regardless of the facts or conduct at issue in a particular case–reduce the discretion available to prosecutors, judges, and juries,” Holder is to say in a speech to the American Bar Association Monday in San Francisco, according to advance excerpts the released by the Justice Department. “They breed disrespect for the system. When applied indiscriminately, they do not serve public safety. They have had a disabling effect on communities. And they are ultimately counterproductive.”
Holder plans to announce that he’s instructing federal prosecutors not to charge garden-variety drug dealers with crimes that lead to lengthy mandatory minimum sentences.
“Certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences. They now will be charged with offenses for which the accompanying sentences are better suited to their individual conduct, rather than excessive prison terms more appropriate for violent criminals or drug kingpins,” the attorney general plans to say.
Holder is also expected to announce that he’s expanding efforts to reduce federal prison populations by releasing elderly prisoners sooner, by allowing local U.S. Attorneys not to prosecute some kinds of cases in federal court and by diverting “low-level offenders” to programs that keep them out of hardcore federal prisons…
[continues at Politico]
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