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 AmashSC Republican Mark Sanford considering primary challenge to Trump Democrats erupt over Trump attacks Juan Williams: GOP in a panic over Mueller MORE (R-Mich.) criticized Attorney General Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsPress: Acosta, latest to walk the plank The Hill's Morning Report — Trump retreats on census citizenship question Alabama senator says Trump opposed to Sessions Senate bid 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.

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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 HolderFeds will not charge officer who killed Eric Garner The old 'state rights' and the new state power The Hill's Morning Report — Harris brings her A game to Miami debate 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 ObamaJesse Jackson calls on Trump to pardon Rod Blagojevich #ObamaWasBetterAt trends after Trump attacks on minority congresswomen Biden says his presidency is not 'a third term of Obama' 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.