Thursday, March 09, 2017


In a stunning new memorandum from the Justice Department, the Attorney General is directing every federal prosecutor to take criminal cases from state and local authorities so that longer federal sentences can be given. You can expect that state and local crimes will become federalized with ever greater arrests, investigations and imprisonment for more American citizens.

Let's find more people for our overcrowded prisons
Portrait of James Ensor, 1907
The National Sentencing Resource Counsel describes the new policies for making more state crimes into federal arrests in the following way:
Directing all US Prosecutors to work with local counterparts to identify those "criminals" in their districts responsible for violent crime, and prosecute them federally, using "all available tools," including 924(c), Hobbs Act, etc., but the drug statutes might work even better (i.e., require higher sentences) to "dismantle" drug organizations, which "can" drive down violent crime.  Further guidance, including an "updated memo on charging for all criminal cases will be forthcoming."  There go the previous Attorney General Holder's policies. 

The reason for all this?  The murder rate has increased by "10.8 percent." 
Actually, the murder rate per 100,000 increased from 4.5 to 4.9 from 2014 to 2015, which is an 8.9 percent increase, concentrated in a few cities like Chicago, Baltimore, St. Louis which incidentally have a history of police abuses (which he is not going to monitor anymore).  And, as you know, very few murders are federal crimes.  

And, FBI’s UCR reports a 14.6 % decrease in all violent and property crime combined from 2014 to 2015, along with 8.4 % decrease in the imprisonment rate.  Pew, National Imprisonment and Crime Rates Continue to Fall at 2 (Dec. 2016).
I've linked the complete new memorandum from the Attorney General so the reader can form his or her own conclusions. The goal here is to federalize state criminal conduct with heftier prison sentences and to do it in a systematic way that will result in longer prison terms. Although the memorandum attempts to take cover behind the term "violent criminals" our federal law has presumes that many drug cases are inherently dangerous to society as justification for already absurdly harsh drug sentencing. This memorandum if followed will not take violent criminals off the street so much as purposely ruin more lives by needlessly giving longer federal sentences for many crimes, such as sale or possession of oxycodone, xanax, methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine or marijuana that our not violent crimes.

Our previous Attorney General set lofty goals to arrest, investigate and jail fewer Americans believing that two million people imprisoned in the United States was far too many. As part of an ongoing effort to reduce harsh federal sentencing in drug cases the federal government told federal prosecutors to no longer enforce federal marijuana laws in states where pot was legalized which led to our hope that Florida's new legalization for medical marijuana would lead to some reduction of federal marijuana trafficking, sale and possession investigations and arrests. 

Federal District Judges used their new discretion unchained from the prosecutor's yolk of ever greater demands for harsh sentences by granting lower drug sentences not only thru substantial assistance, safety valve applications and defendant co-operation, but through up front guideline level reductions. All of this was good news until this new administration came into office with an agenda that some predicted would create many new Florida arrests and investigations not only for drugs but for many other nonviolent crimes. 

No comments: