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June 4, 2018

Calling Professor Pfaff: Attorney General Sessions announces 311 new Assistant United States Attorney positions

Though there are many elements and nuances to the teachings of Professor John Pfaff, I think of him first and foremost for the notion that, when concerned about modern mass incarceration, we all ought to pay a lot more attention to the role and work of prosecutors and ought to focus a lot more on how we handle violent crime and criminals.  Thus, I could not help but think of the fine Professor upon seeing this official press release today from the Department of Justice. 

Here is the press release's full title: "On the 500th Day of the Trump Administration, Attorney General Sessions Announces 311 New Assistant United States Attorney Positions: Largest Increase in AUSAs in Decades Allocates Prosecutors to Focus on Violent Crime, Civil Enforcement, and Immigration Crimes."  Here is its full text:  

Today, on the 500th day of the Trump Administration, Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced that the Department of Justice is taking a dramatic step to increase resources to combat violent crime, enforce our immigration laws, and help roll back the devastating opioid crisis.  In the largest increase in decades, the Department of Justice is allocating 311 new Assistant United States Attorneys to assist in priority areas.  Those allocations are as follows: 190 violent crime prosecutors, 86 civil enforcement prosecutors, and 35 additional immigration prosecutors.  Many of the civil enforcement AUSA’s will support the newly created Prescription Interdiction & Litigation Task Force which targets the opioid crisis at every level of the distribution system.

"Under President Trump's strong leadership, the Department of Justice is going on offense against violent crime, illegal immigration, and the opioid crisis — and today we are sending in reinforcements," said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  "We have a saying in my office that a new federal prosecutor is 'the coin of the realm.'  When we can eliminate wasteful spending, one of my first questions to my staff is if we can deploy more prosecutors to where they are needed. I have personally worked to re-purpose existing funds to support this critical mission, and as a former federal prosecutor myself, my expectations could not be higher. These exceptional and talented prosecutors are key leaders in our crime fighting partnership.  This addition of new Assistant U.S. Attorney positions represents the largest increase in decades."

The statements that this is the largest increase in federal prosecutors in decades leads me to wonder, based largely on Professor Pfaff's work, if this personnel development may be more consequential to defining the future size and composition of the federal prison population than any statutory sentencing reform and prison reform bills being considered in Congress.  

June 4, 2018 at 05:41 PM | Permalink


Your failed profession is prosecuting 1 in 10 common law crimes, fewer federal crimes, and a microscopic fraction of modern crime on the internet. Your profession truly stinks. These appointments are a sad and ridiculous spit into the ocean.

I am not going to repeat the real solution to ending all crimes. None of the rent seeking biased lawyers here want to hear it.

Posted by: David Behar | Jun 4, 2018 6:36:57 PM

Let me introduce a historical note. The proximate cause of the Civil War was the fugitive slave act and the insult that the Northerns felt having slaves rounded up on their territory by federal officers. At some point in time immigration has the possibility of being such a flash point when the desire of some liberal states to protect immigrants under the auspices of sanctuary cities runs into the federal governments desire to arrest those some immigrants and deport them. For the most part this hasn't been a big issue because the biggest influx of immigrants have tended to come in conservative states. But NM is highly likely to switch from red to blue and with Trump in the White House CA seems posed to make more noise as well. So times could get very interesting along the southern border.

Posted by: Just passing by | Jun 4, 2018 6:46:21 PM

Well, an interesting note on Texas, which shares the longest border with Mexico in the US. The three new ASUAs are in the Northern and Eastern Districts, which have no border jurisdiction. And while that doesn't necessarily correlate to anything, it is fairly well-known and accepted that the Southern and Western Districts, especially the latter, which encompasses most of the border, are heavily burdened with criminal cases.

Knowing the disingenuousness of Sessions and his retrograde thoughts on crime, these are probably mostly civil AUSAs (to handle more forfeiture!).

Posted by: Fat Bastard | Jun 4, 2018 7:21:03 PM

Will there be a corresponding increase in AFPD positions?

Posted by: Career AFPD | Jun 5, 2018 9:05:36 AM

I wonder if these are hires to fill vacancies. It was not that long ago that there were resignations and firings.

Posted by: John Neff | Jun 5, 2018 10:25:07 AM

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