Eric Holder

What Exactly is Eric Holder Getting Credit For?

Too little, too late

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2009 is calling about where these initiatives were then
Talk Radio News Service/Foter.com

Yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder announced he was ordering prosecutors to omit the quantity of drugs involved in low-level narcotics cases in an effort to circumvent mandatory minimum laws in those kind of cases, and suggesting to them that they should not prosecute every low-level drug case available to them. As Jacob Sullum noted last night, despite this apparent policy shift President Obama has still not used his clemency power to free inmates he acknowledges are serving out indiscriminately harsh sentences, and Eric Holder did not actually order prosecutors to stop prosecuting low-level drug offenders. The exceptions carved out by the attorney-general—"ties" to gangs or cartels, previous criminal history—leave enough room for a sufficiently driven prosecutor to argue all her cases remain justified.  Despite calling it the "so-called" war on drugs, Holder does not question the wisdom of treating drug use as a public safety issue at all in the "Smart on Crime" initiative (pdf). Instead, the Justice Department points to drug courts as a viable alternative—kinder and gentler, maybe, drug courts are still a tool of prohibition. Getting "smart on crime" also doesn't mean laying off medical marijuana dispensaries that are legal in the states they operate.

Politico wonders whether Holder's policy shift signals an end to Democrats' fear of being labeled "soft on crime". The administration's continued reluctance to grant clemency, stop low-level prosecutions wholesale and deal in an adult manner with states that have legalized either just medical marijuana or the recreational kind too suggests the policy shift, while not totally insignificant, isn't driven by any change of heart in the rightness of the criminal justice system and its overall priorities, "so-called" war on drugs and all.

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  1. The Democrats own the drug war as fully as the Republicans. In fact, some of the worst abuses happened under their watch. It’s bullshit to pretend they don’t fully embrace it as much as Republicans.

    1. Wasn’t it congresscritters representing urban districts that pushed for a lot of the crackdown?

      1. “In life, Len Bias was a terrific basketball player. In death he became the Archduke Ferdinand of the Total War on Drugs.”It was falsely reported that Bias had smoked crack cocaine the night before his death. In fact he had used powder cocaine and there was no link between this use and the failure of his heart, according to the coroner. Bias had signed with the Boston Celtics and amid Boston’s rage and grief Speaker of the House Tip O’Neill, a Boston rep, rushed into action. In early July he convened a meetingof the Democratic Party leadership: “Write me some goddamn legislation,” he ordered. “All anybody in Boston is talking about is Len Bias. They want blood. If we move fast enough we can get out in front of the White House.”

        1. Q: Who is the only Celtic under six feet?

          A: Len Bias.

          1. Reggie Lewis would like a word.

    2. I’ve already seen FB posts, confirming that their vote for The Soon-to-be-Ascended-One was completely validated by this announcement that they’ll probably going to do something real soon now. Maybe.

      His supporters might as well wear a sign around their necks: “Will Fawn for Scraps.”

      1. “Will Fawn suck cock for Scraps.”

        FTFY. Fawn isn’t a strong enough word for these fluffers.

  2. Mandatory minimums are the law of the land!

    /progtard on wrong talking point

  3. Holder did not actually order prosecutors to stop prosecuting low-level drug offenders.

    Considering the number of “inter-agency drug task forces” out there, it’s not like those federal prosecutors cannot merely hand off the small fry to state or local prosecutors. Everybody wins.

  4. “Too many Americans go to too many prisons for far too long and for no truly good law enforcement reason,”
    Says the guy who is the reason for that.
    Lefty papers are grabbing at straws; that’s what he’s getting credit for.
    http://www.sfgate.com/nation/a…..727229.php

  5. He’s getting credit for being on the right TEAM and having the feels.

  6. Politico wonders whether Holder’s policy shift signals an end to Democrats’ fear of being labeled “soft on crime”.

    Yes. Democrats are totally soft on crime. They would never propose anything like drug-testing welfare receipients.

  7. What Exactly is Eric Holder Getting Credit For?

    That warm, happy feeling that your progressive, partisan beliefs are being confirmed in the worst possible way, similar to the warmth of sitting in a fresh puddle of your own urine.

    President Medicinal MJ Clinic Raider is getting a nice tug job from his supporters for his vague, hand waiving. All previous doubts of his intentions are being forgiven.

    1. It’s just like when Obama changed his position completely and freed the gays. Credit galore for doing virtually nothing substantive.

      1. That was from his Disco-Fever Proclamation speech, right? It was hard to hear him over It’s Raining Men playing over and over in the background.

        1. That or during his Gettysburg Address.

          1. I thought that his re-enactment of the battle as a backdrop to the address, using illegal immigrants as the Confederates and Tea Party members as the Union, using live ammo, was a stroke of genius.

            1. I’m looking forward to his Farewell Address.

              1. “Say hello to my little friend!”

                1. A drone for every family.

  8. Holder is getting credit for mouthing some words that aren’t the diametric opposite of what Obama promised on the campaign trail 5 years ago. Yeah, that’s how long it takes with this administration. And of course, they’re just words as well. The most transparent administration ever! Hope. Change. Obfuscation. Dronemurders. Benghazi. Fast and Furious. NSA. IRS. It just keeps coming!

    1. “Let me be clear. We’ll still throw your dope-smoking ass in jail, but only for 10 years, instead of 20.”

  9. I hate to pour water on the parade, but the thing about mandatory penalties — their most salient feature, in fact — is that they are mandatory, for the courts as well as for the prosecution. And as long as they remain on the books, the courts will be required to follow them no matter what the prosecutors ask for or say.

    So Holder’s stunt of not listing the amounts found on the defendants will have no real effect. The judge will simply ask, and the prosecution will be required to tell.

    1. There’s one problem – in order to enhance a sentence, you usually have to prove to a jury the facts behind the enhancement. So if the enhancing factors aren’t alleged in the indictment, or proven to a jury, then there’s only so much the judge can be forced to do.

      1. But again, all they are doing is leaving it out of the complaint. They need to prove that the defendant was in possession of some proscribed product in order to prove the case. How can you do that without at some point disclosing how much of the product the defendant actually had?

        The more I think about it, the more ludicrous it is.

        The only real way to avoid mandatory minimums, short of repeal, is not to prosecute in the first place. Let’s see if that happens.

  10. He’s getting credit for keeping his job this long.

  11. What makes this such a delicious piece of media distraction is the fact that Eric Holder could, with a simple memo and signature, move Marijuana to Schedule III. That he’s doing this instead shows that the Feds simply want MORE power to lord over “perpetrators.” Waivers just give you another method of extortion.

    The fact that no one has noticed this astounds me.

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