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May 29, 2014

AG Holder urges fellow prosecutors to back his sentencing reform advocacy

This new NPR piece reports that "Attorney General Eric Holder took his case for overhauling the criminal justice system to an unlikely location on Wednesday — a closed-door conference of prosecutors, who were meeting at their national training center in Columbia, South Carolina." Here is more:

According to a person familiar with Holder's unpublicized remarks, Holder urged an audience of criminal division chiefs from U.S. Attorney's offices to support Smart on Crime initiatives that would reduce some drug sentences and to open up the clemency process to hundreds of inmates with clean records in prison.

Earlier this year, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill that would cut some mandatory minimum penalties for non-violent drug offenders.  But in recent weeks at least three prominent groups have attacked the legislation, including nearly 30 former Justice Department officials who served under Republican administrations; longtime Sens. John Cornyn, R-TX, Charles Grassley, R-IA, and Jeff Sessions, R-AL; and even Holder's own DEA administrator.

The attorney general addressed those concerns by pointing out that the bill, known as the Smarter Sentencing Act, would leave in place tough mandatory minimum sentences for most drug traffickers, with add-ons for people who possess weapons, are repeat offenders, or those who are considered leaders of an ongoing criminal racket.

"These changes represent anything but a softening of our stance against crime and those who perpetrate it, or a relaxing of our unwavering commitment to combat the drug-fueled violence that plagues far too many communities," Holder said, according to a law enforcement source in the audience.  "On the contrary: in all our activities, we remain committed to the robust enforcement of federal anti-drug laws, and to focusing federal resources on the most significant threats to our communities," he said, according to the source.

May 29, 2014 at 01:04 AM | Permalink


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Dear Mr Holder:

You dont get anywhere asking over powered AUSA to back your program.

You get their pay reduced or else. ( good luck on that one )

I truely am impressed that Mr Holder and several senators are making a concerted effort on scaling back the federal guidelines. Its long over due and will be appreciated by inmates families and tax payers.

I believe there are 3 major efforts in process.
1 SSA - cut mandatory minimums for drugs in half or remove some. rollback crack 2010
2 2 level drop for those sentenced based on drug qty , then make it retroactive?
3 Pres Obama wants to grant clemency if they half a dozen conditions.

This is a lot going on. I am not a fan for the feds at all. They over due everything or they do nothing. The practically never make changes within the same decade that a bill fails. Keep up the good work encouraging the people in control.

I actually am very very impressed. Thanks to all who are making a diff on fixing a wrong. No matter how small or insignificant one may think their efforts are. It is hitting the mark. I never give praise on this site. Thanks to all.

Posted by: Midwest Guy | May 29, 2014 5:00:02 PM

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