US Attorney General Issues Charging and Sentencing Principles

On Friday, May 12 US Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memorandum providing charging and sentencing principles for the US Department of Justice (DOJ).  The DOJ in its press release said "This policy was formulated after extensive consultation with Assistant U.S. Attorneys at both trial and appellate level, as well as U.S. Attorneys and Main Justice Attorneys.  It ensures that the Department enforces the law fairly and consistently, advances public safety and promotes respect for our legal system."

The guiding principles within the memo include:

  • Prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense
  • Prosecutors must disclose to the sentencing court all facts that impact the sentencing guidelines or mandatory minimum sentences, and should in all cases seek a reasonable sentence under the factors in 18 U.S.C. § 3553

In addition, the memo rescinds any previous policy of the DOJ that is inconsistent with the above guiding principles.

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