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July 17, 2017

In latest speech, AG Sessions advocates for more gun and prescription drug prosecutions and more asset forfeiture

Attorney General Sessions gave another notable speech today, and this one was delivered to the National District Attorneys Association.  Regular readers are familiar with the themes AG Sessions has been stressing of late, but these excerpts highlight what struck me as some new parts to what the AG is talking up:

We have a multi-front battle in front of us right now: an increase in violent crime, a rise in vicious gangs, an opioid epidemic, threats from terrorism, and human traffickers, combined with a culture in which family and discipline seems to be eroding further.

From the early 1990s until just a few years ago, the crime rate steadily came down across the country. But violent crime is rising.  The murder rate, for example, has surged nearly 11 percent nationwide in just one year — the largest increase since 1968.  Per capita homicide rates are up in 27 of our 35 largest cities....

These numbers are deeply troubling — and especially since they represent a sharp reversal of decades of progress. My best judgment is that this rise is not an aberration or a blip.  We must take these developments seriously and consider carefully what can be done about them.  Yielding to the trend is not an option for America and certainly not to us....

We must encourage proven police techniques like community-based, proactive policing and “broken windows” — policies that are lawful and proven to work. Better training, better morale, professional excellence are goals of yours. My goal is to help you be effective and never to make your work more difficult. I am asking our U.S. Attorneys to be leaders in this approach. In the long run, there is nothing we can do that is more impactful....

I want to see a substantial increase in gun crime prosecutions. I believe, as we partner together and hammer criminals who carry firearms during crimes or criminals that possess firearms after being convicted of a felony, the effect will be to reduce violent crime.

Next, the DEA reports that 80 percent of heroin addicts started with abuse of prescription drugs. As you know, more than 50,000 died of drug overdoses in 2015. Preliminary numbers indicate 2016 may hit 60,000. We have never seen numbers like this. This nation is prescribing and consuming far too many painkillers. This must end.

Last week, we announced the indictments of over 400 defendants as part of the annual Health Care Fraud Take Down. 120 of those involved opioid-related drug fraud and nearly 50 were doctors. Some of these frauds involved massive amounts of drugs. But I’m convinced this is a winnable war. We can significantly reduce this abuse, which includes the big drug companies as well.

DEA is making these cases a priority. They can make visits to physician and pharmacies and do checks on those who prescribe or sell these drugs. They are reviewing and identifying physician and pharmacy outliers that can help you narrow the search for crooks.

I would urge you to examine every case that involves an arrest of an individual illegally possessing prescription drugs. Make a condition of any plea bargain that the defendant tell where he or she got the drugs. Together, let’s get after these bad actors....

In addition, we hope to issue this week a new directive on asset forfeiture — especially for drug traffickers.  With care and professionalism, we plan to develop policies to increase forfeitures.  No criminal should be allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime.  Adoptive forfeitures are appropriate as is sharing with our partners....

As prosecutors, we have a difficult job, but our efforts at the federal, state, and local levels have a real impact. With every conviction we secure, we make our communities safer.

July 17, 2017 at 06:03 PM | Permalink

Comments

"Merely a citizen" says that if you use prescription drugs, be more careful at checkpoints and when being stopped by the police. Exercise your right to remain silent and request a lawyer. Don't consent to any searches or seizures. You might be like me and don't drink at all, but we can all be convicted of DUI when using prescription drugs, yes even a Mormon. If there is any prescription drug in your system, it won't matter that the police had no probable cause whatsoever. Because most judges are rubber-stamps for the police, probable cause is effectively "what the cop says it is."

Posted by: Daniel | Jul 17, 2017 7:25:49 PM

I have come to temporarily support civil forfeiture.

I urge the Department of Justice to seize Amazon, Google, Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, for the many crimes committed on their platforms, for their disloyalty to our nation's interests, collaboration with our adversaries, and political correctness.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 17, 2017 11:07:55 PM

Sessions ought to be willing to submit to a daily drug and alcohol test--to allay my suspicions about his overuse of both--all that toxic marination of his brain should have been examined prior to his confirmation, thankyouverymuch.

Posted by: FluffyRoss | Jul 18, 2017 11:58:30 AM

I urge the Department of Justice to seize Mr. David Behar and deport him from this blog.

Posted by: anon | Jul 18, 2017 1:18:37 PM

I concur with anon. Then maybe the folks who have intelligent things to say will return to this blog.

Posted by: anon2 | Jul 18, 2017 1:20:07 PM

Ironic. The stupidest people in the world say someone is stupid.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 18, 2017 3:04:30 PM

Any words from Sessions if he thinks the sharp increase in the number of presidents committing treason is a problem?

Posted by: Jr | Jul 21, 2017 11:11:38 AM

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