New U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has indicated that he is going to make changes that will mean harsher sentences for those convicted of violent crimes as well as drug crimes. He’s already instructed federal prosecutors around the country to “address the problem of violent crime in your district.”
Just what actions he wants them to take remain to be seen. He said in his memo to prosecutors that “guidance and support in executing this priority…will be forthcoming.”
The attorney general has also asked for the resignation of federal prosecutors who were appointed during the Obama administration. One well-known New York federal prosecutor, Preet Bharara, says that when he refused to resign, he was fired.
What the appointment of dozens of new federal prosecutors will mean remains to be seen. However, Sessions has indicated that he wants a change in charging policies. It’s anticipated that there will be a shift in Department of Justice resources away from prosecuting business fraud, cyber crime, civil rights violations and environmental crimes toward a stronger emphasis on prosecuting violent crimes.
The DOJ will also likely roll back some of the changes made under President Obama and specifically his first attorney general, Eric Holder, regarding drug crimes. For example, it might reverse the Obama administration’s efforts to decrease the imposition of mandatory minimum sentences for non-violent drug offenders.
One law school professor says that the actions of the DOJ thus far indicate that those accused of violent crimes as well as drug crimes could face more serious charges and, if convicted, longer prison sentences. Therefore, it’s more crucial now than ever to seek experienced legal guidance if you or a loved one is facing such criminal charges in Florida or other parts of the country.