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March 8, 2017

AG Sesssions issue memo directing US Attorneys focus on "drivers of violent crime" ... and indicating change to Holder's charging memos forthcoming

As reported via this official DOJ Press release, "Attorney General Jeff Sessions today directed federal prosecutors nationwide to engage in a focused effort to investigate, prosecute and deter the most violent offenders." Here is more from the release:

This builds on the announcement last week of the creation of the U.S. Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, which is central to the Attorney General’s commitment to combatting illegal immigration and violent crime, such as drug trafficking, gang violence and gun crimes, and to restoring public safety to all of the nation’s communities.

“Turning back our nation’s recent rise in violent crime is a top priority for the Department of Justice, and it requires decisive action from our federal prosecutors,” said Attorney General Sessions. “I’m urging each of them to continue working closely with their counterparts at all levels, and to use every tool we have to put violent offenders behind bars and keep our citizens safe.”

In a memo to federal prosecutors in the department’s 94 United States Attorney’s Offices, the Attorney General made clear that prosecuting violent criminals is a high priority and prosecutors should work closely with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to target the most violent offenders in each district. Working together, law enforcement at every level should determine which venue – federal or state – would best get those identified immediately off our streets and punished appropriately for their crimes.

The memo states when federal prosecution is determined appropriate, federal prosecutors should ensure the individuals driving violent crime in their district are prosecuted using the tools at their disposal, which may include firearms offenses, including possession and straw purchasing offenses; possession of a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime or drug trafficking offense; Hobbs Act robbery; carjacking; violent crime in aid of racketeering; Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; and drug offenses under the Controlled Substances Act, among others.

The memo is available at this link, and hard-core federal sentencing fans might be most intrigued by a line that appears at the end of the memo which states that "an updated memorandum for charging in all criminal cases will be forthcoming."  That line suggests to me that pretty soon we will be seeing a formal new "Sessions Memo" that seeks to remove some of the "play in the joints" that former AG Eric Holder introduced through prior charging memorandum issued back in 2010 and 2013.

March 8, 2017 at 06:31 PM | Permalink


Will he up the Federal Ante on the Amish Beard Cutting gang?? We should leave no Federal Prosecution behind.

Posted by: beth | Mar 8, 2017 7:43:12 PM

Is bastardy included in the directive? Will Sessions demand that all federal policies driving the explosion of bastardy in blacks, and now in whites, be reviewed and reversed? The War on Poverty destroyed the black patriarchal family, and a 5 fold victimization to violent crime visited the black community.

Bastardy is at 70% plus among blacks. It shot up to 40% among whites in the 2010 Census. This is a major lawyer made catastrophe for our nation. White bastardy rates catch up to black bastardy rates, we are truly fucked. Only the intact families of immigrants will remain.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 8, 2017 8:20:38 PM

Yay, more expansion of federal jurisdiction into local law enforcement matters.

Posted by: Erik M | Mar 8, 2017 9:39:47 PM

Since under current law essentially all robberies affect interstate commerce, we could be seeing essentially all robberies charged under the Hobbs Act in federal court...

Posted by: Anon | Mar 8, 2017 9:51:39 PM

The memo begins with the sentence "It is the policy of the Department of Justice to reduce crime in America..."

Phew, that's a relief!

Posted by: Virginia from Virginia | Mar 9, 2017 12:06:48 AM

The negative sentiments repeatedly expressed here about how little the Obama Administration did to advance criminal justice makes me wonder how much this will matter. OTOH, I did think that sentiment was probably overblown some.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 9, 2017 10:17:42 AM

I think Virginia from Virginia was being sarcastic. Could the policy of any Justice Department be to increase crime?

Posted by: anon | Mar 9, 2017 1:36:36 PM

"Could the policy of any Justice Department be to increase crime?"

Can be unintentionally, surely, but intentionally?

In small doses, possibly, especially if it involves looking the other way when the police break the law. It can also make it a policy to downplay enforcement of some crimes to focus on others, let's say marijuana down/other enforcement up, which might in a way "increase crime" intentionally. That is a sort of play on words though.

Posted by: Joe | Mar 9, 2017 2:09:16 PM

It is the unspoken, but immutable policy to maintain crime rates because they generate government jobs. Destroy the black family. Make their crime rates go from 5 or 10% higher than those of whites to 500% higher. Why? To generate worthless, government make work jobs.

Posted by: David Behar | Mar 10, 2017 8:35:45 AM

I see that once again drug "trafficking" by itself is once again automatically classified a "violent crime" so your neighborhood pot selling teen or a heroin addict selling a few pills will be not only a felon but a VIOLENT felon...great for fake crime statistics that will flood Federal prisons again with minor dealers and their WIVES and GIRLFRIENDS accused of "conspiracy"...now of a "violent" crime even if no one was shot or threatened or even if no one possessed a gun. We will go back to the Feds prosecuting small cases that truly should be State cases, just to "give a good example". Back in the late 1980's the Feds had what was called "Federal Wednesday"...or might have been Thursday, when all the junkies and street dealers caught that day by NYPD became Federal cases subject to Federal Mandatory Minimums, etc. So THAT's what I suspect we'll be returning to. Shit...if I had had money to invest a month before the election, I would have invested in private prison stock.. CoreCivic must be laughing all the way to the bank

Posted by: Patricia Williams | Mar 18, 2017 11:11:11 AM

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