GOP's Amash: Sessions's call for tougher sentences ‘unjust’

GOP's Amash: Sessions's call for tougher sentences ‘unjust’
© Greg Nash

Rep. Justin AmashJustin AmashTreasury retweets Trump, possibly violating campaign law Record numbers of women nominated for governor, Congress Watchdog files Hatch Act violation complaints against 10 Trump administration officials MORE (R-Mich.) criticized Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsWhite House counsel called Trump 'King Kong' behind his back: report Trump claims he instructed White House counsel to cooperate with Mueller Watergate's John Dean: White House counsel is 'doing right' by cooperating with Mueller MORE on Friday for reversing Obama-era guidelines on criminal charges and sentencing.

Sessions instructed federal prosecutors Friday to charge defendants with the most serious crime possible.

"Let's pass criminal justice reform to put an end to this unjust, ineffective, and costly policy," Amash, one of the Trump administration's most vocal GOP critics, wrote on Twitter.

ADVERTISEMENT
Sessions released a memo presenting a radical departure from the Obama administration’s approach to criminal charging and sentencing, which called for prosecutors to avoid charges that could trigger heavy mandatory minimum sentences.

“It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense,” Sessions wrote. 

“This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency,” Sessions added. “This policy fully utilizes the tools Congress has given us.”

“By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”

The memo marks a drastically different take on drug-related offenses than the one practiced by former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderTrump, Obamas and Clintons among leaders mourning Aretha Franklin With bash-Trump day, press acts like opposition party Sanders to appear next week on Colbert's 'Late Show' MORE, who issued the 2013 order directing prosecutors to avoid mandatory minimums.

Sessions’s memo marks the Trump administration’s first major rollback of Obama administration criminal justice reforms.

President Trump touted himself as the “law-and-order candidate” during his 2016 campaign.

Trump repeatedly vowed to stifle the drug trade and often derided former President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaThe US must not turn its back on refugees Gorka calls Trump's comments on Mexican immigrants ‘fake news’  The queen, Aretha Franklin, is dead MORE’s law enforcement policies.

The new guidelines instruct prosecutors to “disclose to the sentencing court all facts that impact the sentencing guidelines or mandatory minimum sentences.”

Holder’s policies directed prosecutors not to disclose the quantity of drugs to courts to avoid strict mandatory minimum sentences.

Holder's guidelines did not apply to defendants who were gang leaders or repeat criminal offenders.