Rand Paul: Sessions's sentencing plan would ruin lives

Rand Paul: Sessions's sentencing plan would ruin lives
© Greg Nash

Sen. Rand PaulRandal (Rand) Howard PaulGOP senator: Democratic opposition to Pompeo 'driven 100 percent by politics' Pompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel CIA declassifies memo on nominee's handling of interrogation tapes MORE (R-Ky.) on Monday criticized Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard Sessions Trump to lawmakers pressing Sessions to investigate Comey and Clinton: 'Good luck with that' Five takeaways from Trump adding Giuliani Trump disputes report that he calls Sessions 'Mr. Magoo' MORE for reversing Obama-era guidelines on criminal charges and sentencing, saying the move "will accentuate the injustice in our criminal justice system."

Sessions instructed federal prosecutors in a memo last week to charge defendants with the most serious crime possible, breaking from the Obama administration’s approach.

ADVERTISEMENT
“We should be treating our nation’s drug epidemic for what it is — a public health crisis, not an excuse to send people to prison and turn a mistake into a tragedy. This isn’t about legalizing drugs. It is about making the punishment more fitting and not ruining more lives," Paul said in a CNN op-ed.


Paul added that mandatory minimum sentences remove the ability to judge cases individually.

“Each case should be judged on its own merits,” he said. “Mandatory minimums prevent this from happening.”

Former Attorney General Eric HolderEric Himpton HolderComey's book tour is all about 'truth' — but his FBI tenure, not so much James Comey and Andrew McCabe: You read, you decide Eric Holder headed to New Hampshire for high-profile event MORE issued an order in 2013 instructing prosecutors to avoid mandatory minimums while prosecuting drug-related offenses.  

Holder’s policies directed prosecutors not to disclose the quantity of drugs to avoid strict mandatory minimum sentences. The guidelines did not apply to defendants who were gang leaders or repeat criminal offenders.

Sessions's memo marked a serious change in approach.

“It is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense,” Sessions wrote. "By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”