Attorney General Eric Holder will testify to the U.S. Sentencing Commission on Thursday about proposals to reduce prison terms for thousands of people in drug cases, changes that could trim sentences by an average of 11 months per defendant, reports NPR. “For too long, we have labored under the misapprehension that we have to have these extraordinarily long sentences if we want to keep the American people safe,” Holder said. The system needs to be smarter and more flexible, he added, by “putting in the hands of judges what should happen to a particular defendant as opposed to going to a sheet of paper, a computer and spitting some kind of almost mechanical determination of what should happen.”
Already one of the longest serving attorneys general, Holder says he has no timetable to leave. He told NPR that the work of Debo Adegbile, defeated nominee to head the DOJ Civil Rights division, on an appeal for a convicted cop killer was not a legitimate reason to deny him the job. “The political decision — and it was a political decision — not to pay close attention to what his record was or to be misinformed about what his record was and then to use that as a basis to deny him the opportunity to serve here as assistant attorney general is something that to me is extremely disturbing,” Holder said. He said people like former President John Adams and Chief Justice John Roberts represented murderers without being blocked from big jobs or facing punishment in their careers.