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July 11, 2018

Isn't it about time AG Jeff Sessions stops talking about "surging violent crime"?

The question in the title of this post is prompted by a comment appearing in this new Justice Department press release headlined "Attorney General Jeff Sessions Welcomes Brian A. Benczkowski as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division."  Here is the start of this release with a key phrase highlighted:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions today welcomed the confirmation of Brian Allen Benczkowski as the Department of Justice’s Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division. “Brian is an outstanding lawyer with a diverse public service and criminal law background spanning over 20 years,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “This will be the sixth senior position Brian has held at the Department, and we are fortunate to have someone with his breadth of experience and strong leadership skills willing to serve again.  At a time like this — with surging violent crime and an unprecedented drug epidemic — this position is especially important.”

Had AG Sessions been speaking in January 2017, I could see a plausible basis for him to talk about it being "a time ... with surging violent crime."  But circa July 2018, all indications seem to be that violent crime is back to declining at least slightly: (1) the latest official FBI release reported that "overall violent crime decreased 0.8 percent in the first six months of 2017 compared with the same time frame in 2016," (2) the violent crime survey from the Major Cities Chiefs association for year-end 2017 and for the first part of 2018 show violent crime decreasing, and (3) the Brennan Center recently found, in a "final analysis of crime rates in 2017, ... an overall decline in rates of violent crime, murder, and overall crime in the 30 largest American cities."

I understand why and how politicians end up being sloppy with crime and punishment rhetoric, and I am not troubled when AG Sessions says violent crime is too high or employs similar terminology when espousing his tough-on-crime philosophy and policies.  But facts matter and should matter to the Attorney General.  And, according to all the data of which I am now aware, the simple fact is that the United States is not right now experiencing "surging violent crime."

So, in addition to wanting also to welcome Brian Benczkowski as Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division, I want to request that he be a bit more conscientious with his crime rhetoric than his boss (and especially his boss's boss).

July 11, 2018 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


Yes, it is past time. However, there is certainly a surge in obstruction of justice. What were Manafort's lawyer's thinking?

Posted by: defendergirl | Jul 11, 2018 4:44:47 PM

Ag Sessions started out ranting about how violent crime is up and we need to increase sentences. Oh well, where has he been all his Dult life, behind the barn eRing turnips I suspect.

The opiod epidemic is 100% the responsibility of the federal govt. From Big Pharma making and selling way mire than what a populTion would need for pain..

The Drs are the 2nd prong. They oush meds much wirse than gangs and get away with it.

The feds dont want to deal with pRma or Drs, so they put the addicts in jail and pre h its out if control.

For the last few decades the Feds couldnt irganize a 2 car parade, have done on time and within budget. But I forgot, we dont have a budget, we just spend and spen.

So The Feds can blow sunshine and stories to somebody else. Sessions is perfect for his job. He likes to hear himself talk and does absolutely zero.

His meetings are high level, but conceptually vague.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jul 11, 2018 9:58:24 PM

But the US is experiencing a surge in violent crime. It is being covered up by Democratic Party administrations in our ultra-violent cities.

Posted by: David Behar | Jul 11, 2018 10:05:01 PM

Chicago has shootings that have been out of control for for 50 yrs. If the Feds wanted to fix this so it was reasonable, it would be done.

Violent crime us not climbing, but opiods are. The feds are drunk on debt, doing nothing and listening to themselves talk.

Each one is more God like than the previous, seemingly.

If I would take a few lawyers ( know you dont like them) , so e contruction foremans,
a few Drs, a few college grads that just graduated, we could make much better decisions than what these clowns are. So much effort kn Russian probe, fighting the kther party, none of this, is helping America.

Posted by: MidWestGuy | Jul 11, 2018 11:11:54 PM

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