Holder Expands Changes in Drug-Case Policy

Sep 22, 2013

The Jus­tice Depart­ment is expand­ing a major change in fed­eral drug sen­tenc­ing pol­icy to cover pend­ing drug cases, Attor­ney Gen­eral Eric Holder said Thurs­day. Last month, Holder said cer­tain low-level, non­vi­o­lent drug offend­ers — those with­out ties to large-scale orga­ni­za­tions, gangs or car­tels — no longer will be charged with offenses that impose severe manda­tory min­i­mum sen­tences. Holder said he now has broad­ened the new pol­icy to cover defen­dants who have not yet been con­victed in drug cases that could involve lengthy manda­tory prison sen­tences. The pol­icy also may be applied, at the dis­cre­tion of pros­e­cu­tors, to a defen­dant who has entered a guilty plea, but has not yet been sen­tenced. Manda­tory min­i­mum prison sen­tences, a legacy of the government’s war on drugs, limit the dis­cre­tion of judges to impose shorter prison terms. Holder says the gov­ern­ment should reserve the most severe prison terms for seri­ous, high-level or vio­lent drug traf­fick­ers. “Some fed­eral drug statutes that man­date inflex­i­ble sen­tences — regard­less of the indi­vid­ual con­duct at issue in a par­tic­u­lar case — do not serve pub­lic safety when they’re applied indis­crim­i­nately,” Holder told a crim­i­nal jus­tice issues forum of the Con­gres­sional Black Cau­cus Foun­da­tion. At a Sen­ate Judi­ciary Com­mit­tee hear­ing this week, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., said that in one case, a first-time offender arrested with less than 2 ounces of cocaine was sen­tenced to 10 years in prison because of manda­tory sen­tenc­ing guide­lines. Paul has drafted leg­is­la­tion along with com­mit­tee chair­man Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., that would give judges wider sen­tenc­ing dis­cre­tion as one way to relieve prison over­crowd­ing and bring down the explod­ing costs of oper­at­ing pris­ons. Source: Asso­ci­ated Press (Wire) Author: Pete Yost, The Asso­ci­ated Press Pub­lished: Sep­tem­ber 19, 2013 Copy­right: 2013 The Asso­ci­ated Press

b77c34be64eapons.jpg 150x112 Holder Expands Changes in Drug Case Policy

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Holder Expands Changes in Drug-Case Policy

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