In what amounts to a direct reversal of Obama administration policy, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is getting tough on crime, instructing federal prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense” against many suspects.
Sessions announced the change in a memo sent Thursday night to U.S. attorneys and made public on Friday, saying it is “the right and moral thing to do.”
“I’ve empowered our prosecutors to charge & pursue the most serious offense,” AG Sessions on criminal sentencing ruling pic.twitter.com/MaqfatqsMo
— CBS News (@CBSNews) May 12, 2017
Former Attorney General Eric Holder, who ushered in the kinder, gentler approach to criminal behavior, called his successor’s stance “dumb” and “ill-informed.”
Never mind that there has been an explosion in opioid and heroin addiction under the Obama administration’s soft policies that treated drug crimes as non-violent offenses.
Sessions addressed that “epidemic” Thursday while speaking in Charleston, West Virginia.
“The opioid and heroin epidemic is a contributor to the recent surge of violent crime in America,” Sessions said, according to The Spokesman-Review. “Drug trafficking is an inherently violent business. If you want to collect a drug debt, you can’t, and don’t, file a lawsuit in court. You collect it by the barrel of a gun.”
Under Holder, prosecutors were directed not to include drug quantity amounts in criminal charges in some cases if it would trigger mandatory minimum sentences — that policy was rescinded in Sessions’ directive.
Holder released a statement Friday saying Sessions’ stance “is not tough on crime. It is dumb on crime,” The Washington Times reported.
Falling back on a familiar refrain from “progressives,” he said the decision “ignores a rare bipartisan political consensus that has formed around sentencing reform effort and will take this nation back to a discredited past.”
That being an era of accountability, where enforcing the law takes precedent over political objectives.
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