In a memorandum issued today by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, federal prosecutors are directed to pursue the most severe penalties possible. The memo states, “First it is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.  … By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”

The memo replaces “any inconsistent previous policy of the Department of Justice.” This includes former Attorney General Eric Holder’s criminal charging policy that directed prosecutors to avoid charging certain defendants with offenses that would trigger long mandatory minimum sentences.

Read the full memorandum.

Jennifer Morinigo

The American Law Institute


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