Friday, April 7th, 2017

Sessions Establishes Task Force on “Crime Reduction and Public Safety”

Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued another memo to US Attorneys this week.  You can access the memo here.

In it, he establishes a “Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety” to identify ways federal prosecutors “can more effectively combat illegal immigration and violent crime, such as gun crime, drug trafficking, and gang violence.”  The task force will review “existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities.”  The task force’s recommendations are due by July 27.

The task force is headed by Steve Cook, the president of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys.  If the views he has promoted as the head of that organization are an indication, the task force could recommend rolling back a lot of the reforms we have seen over the past couple of years, including promoting harsher mandatory minimum sentences and treating all drug offenses as violent crimes calling for lengthy prison sentences.

For example, in this letter, the NAAUSA takes issue with National District Attorneys Association and argues that recent reform of the drug guidelines jeopardized public safety and that further reforms would be a “gift to drug dealers and the cartels they serve.”   In this letter to Senate Judiciary Chair Grassley, the NAAUSA argues that reducing mandatory minimums would “weaken the capacity of prosecutors to secure cooperation from defendants.”  And the NAAUSA issued this white paper regarding drug reform which takes the position that “It is well-established drug trafficking is inherently violent and that all drug dealing is dangerous taking the lives of thousands of Americans, destroying families, and undermining the moral fabric of our communities, regardless of whether any individual offender engages in an act of violence during the commission of a drug offense.”

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