Tags: Law Enforcement | united states assistant united states attorneys | jeff sessions | reform | prison

Assistant US Attorneys Group Working Alongside Sessions

Image: Assistant US Attorneys Group Working Alongside Sessions
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Monday, 22 May 2017 04:26 PM

The former head of a group representing a conservative bloc of Assistant United States Attorneys that lobbied against Obama-era sentencing reforms is now working alongside Attorney General Jeff Sessions, The Atlantic reported.

In March, Steven Cook, former president of the National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys (NAAUSA), was named deputy associate attorney general in charge of addressing urban violence, The Atlantic reported.

His past opposition to sentencing reform reportedly "laid the groundwork" for DOJ's current push for stricter policies, The Atlantic reported.

Larry Leiser, who took over as president of NAAUSA when Cook left, disputed the idea his group would have more influence because of Cook's position — though he conceded he expects its "voice to have more of an impact" because the administration is "receptive" to members' positions, The Atlantic reported.

But other federal prosecutions — NAAUSA represents 1,500 of 5,000 assistant U.S. attorneys, Atlantic reported — largely back reforms and are concerned about the new DOJ policy to push mandatory minimum sentences and restrict prosecutors' discretion in the matter.

"Bottom line, what's going to happen is this is going to put a lot of people in jail," Thomas Bergstrom, a former assistant U.S. attorney in Pennsylvania, told the National Law Journal.

"It looks like all U.S. attorneys are going to be under the thumb of the attorney general."

There are currently 188,686 federal inmates, down from a peak of 216,000 in 2013, The Atlantic reported.

Another prosecutorial tool NAAUSA plans to push is asset forfeiture, which lets government seize the property, cash, and other assets of those accused of crimes. Its use is criticized by reformers who contend its a revenue-generator off people who in some cases won't ever be charged with a crime.

"We believe that asset forfeiture is a good and viable tool, but some changes need to be adjusted to make it fairer," Leiser told The Atlantic.

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The former head of a group representing a conservative bloc of Assistant United States Attorneys that lobbied against Obama-era sentencing reforms is now working alongside Attorney General Jeff Sessions, The Atlantic reported.
united states assistant united states attorneys, jeff sessions, reform, prison
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2017-26-22
Monday, 22 May 2017 04:26 PM
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