Justice Department Orders Tougher Criminal Punishments

By Jack Newsham (May 12, 2017, 10:02 PM EDT) -- Federal prosecutors were instructed by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday to prioritize stronger charges and stiffer sentences, reversing guidance issued by the Obama administration to take a less aggressive stance on certain crimes.

In a two-page memo, Sessions rescinded guidance issued by Eric Holder, former President Barack Obama's longtime attorney general, that told prosecutors to avoid moves that would require harsh sentences for nonviolent drug offenders and other low-level criminals.

By default, front-line prosecutors must seek "the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences," the policy states. U.S. Attorneys and Assistant Attorneys General must sign off on any...

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