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Rosenstein

Rosenstein: DOJ Goal ‘Not to Fill Prisons’

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein didn’t stray much from the Trump administration’s tough-on-crime rhetoric, but he described as “worthy” efforts to fight crime with “solutions … apart from prosecution and incarceration.”

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Sessions Revives Harsher DOJ Policy in Drug Cases

Attorney General Jeff Sessions withdrew a 2013 directive from predecessor Eric Holder that instructed federal prosecutors not to specify the amount of drugs involved when charging low-level and non-violent drug offenders. That policy gave judges discretion to set sentences lower than the mandatory punishments ranging from five years to life in prison under federal law.

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Brown Ballot Plan Would Give Nonviolent CA Inmates Chance At Early Release

Almost four decades after he signed a law mandating strict sentences for the most serious crimes, California Gov. Jerry Brown yesterday moved to ease its effect, proposing inmates convicted of nonviolent offenses be given a chance at early release, reports the Los Angeles Times. “Let’s take the basic structure of our criminal law and say, when you’ve served fully the primary sentence, you can be considered for parole,” Brown said, announcing a November ballot initiative to streamline rules he estimated […]

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TCR'S Person of the Year: John Oliver

Can a talk-show host drive meaningful social change? In the post-Letterman, post-Leno era, just asking the question reveals the intriguing new forces at work in today's media landscape. It wasn't too long ago that “serious” discussion of national issues was confined to Op Ed pages and the “talking heads” of Sunday news shows. Talk-show personalities like Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Bill Maher were among the first to exploit widespread dissatisfaction with the orthodox daily-news formulas that dominated our national […]

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Fed Drug Offenders ‘Average 11 Years in Prison Under Mandatory Minimums’

More than three quarters of individuals serving drug offenses in federal prisons were convicted of an offense that carries a mandatory minimum penalty, and in 59 percent of those cases the average expected time served was 11 years, according to a data brief released Thursday by the Charles Colson Task Force on Federal Correction and the Urban Institute. That was almost twice the penalty given drug offenders who were not convicted under the mandatory-minimum rules. “Long federal drug sentences are […]

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Prosecutors Say Sentencing Bill Could Reduce Their Leverage In Drug Cases

The Washington Post dissects a federal drug case in Oregon to show how heavily prosecutors rely on mandatory minimum sentences to take down drug networks. This leverage could be diminished by Congress because of concerns that it has been used too liberally to lock up low-level nonviolent offenders who face punishments that are much more severe than their crimes. Defense attorneys and others pushing to reduce mandatory sentences say that the threat of decades in prison leaves defendants without a […]