What DOJ reversal of Holder-era initiative on drug crime prosecutions means for California

Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversed the initiative of his Democratic predecessor Eric H. Holder Jr. and directed federal prosecutors to charge defendants with “the most serious offenses.”

The new instructions, once adopted, would overturn the previous memo that aimed to reduce harsh punishment for low-level drug crimes, citing overcrowding in prison and overspending by taxpayers.

“Charging and sentencing recommendations are crucial responsibilities for any federal prosecutor,” Sessions wrote in a memo to U.S. attorneys,  "This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency.” If a prosecutor does not wish to pursue the most serious charge, Session notes he or she must get approved by a supervisor such as an assistant attorney general.

Host Larry Mantle sits down with Laurie Levenson, former federal prosecutor and professor of law at Loyola Law School, on the ramification of this policy reversal in the state of California.


Laurie L. Levenson, former federal prosecutor and a professor of law at Loyola Law School