President Joe Biden's acting attorney general has revoked a Trump administration policy that mandated federal prosecutors nearly always pursue the toughest charges and penalties.
Acting Attorney General Monty Wilkinson sent a Friday memo to all federal prosecutors that rescinded a May 2017 memo from then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who directed the nation's federal prosecutors to pursue the most severe charges and penalties unless granted special permission from supervisors.
"The goal of this interim step is to ensure that decisions about charging, plea agreements, and advocacy at sentencing are based on the merits of each case and reflect an individualized assessment of relevant facts while longer-term policy is formulated," Wilkinson wrote in a memo obtained by HuffPost.
The Justice Department will revert back to a charging and sentencing policy issued by former Attorney General Eric Holder in 2010, when federal prosecutors were encouraged to focus on "individualized justice" and decision-making based on "the merits of each case."
Holder then imposed a more progressive policy regarding mandatory minimums in drug cases in 2013.
The Justice Department almost certainly will evaluate its permanent charging and sentencing policy once Biden's team is in place. Merrick Garland (attorney general), Lisa Monaco (deputy attorney general) and Vanita Gupta (associate attorney general) have been nominated and await Senate confirmation.
"Together we will work to safeguard the public, maximize the impact of our federal resources, avoid unwarranted disparities, promote fair outcomes in sentencing, and seek justice in every case," Wilkinson wrote. "Thank you for you continued dedication to achieving those goals."
Prosecutors under President Donald Trump were directed to state any facts that would trigger mandatory minimum sentences during sentencing. A supervisor's approval was required if the prosecutor wanted to recommend a lesser penalty.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.