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Eric Holder to Announce Phasing Out of Mandatory Minimum Sentences for Non-Violent Drug Offenders

Federal prosecutors will no longer seek long, "mandatory minimum" sentences for many low-level, nonviolent drug offenders, under a major shift in policy aimed at turning around decades of explosive growth in the federal prison population, Atty. Gen. Eric H. Holder Jr. planned to announce Monday.

"Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long, and for no good law enforcement reason," Holder planned to tell the American Bar Assn. meeting here, according to an advance text of his remarks. "While the aggressive enforcement of federal criminal statutes remains necessary, we cannot simply prosecute or incarcerate our way to becoming a safer nation."

Source: LA Times. Read full article. (link)

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  • Jose Chung||

    Is this something the attorney general has the authority to do though? While I agree with the action, it seems that these mandatory sentences were enacted by Congress and have been given validity by the Supreme Court. Wouldn't this be another example of the Holder DOJ circumventing the intent of Congress and the law?

    I hate to bring this up, because I believe mandatory sentencing laws to be draconian and a violation of the spirit of equitable justice. But we are supposed to be a nation with rule of law, not rule by whim. Repeal of these awful laws really need to be done properly, in Congress. If we accept this deliberate discarding of the laws by the executive branch because we agree with it, it gives us little room to object later when it involves something we do not approve of.

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