posted on Sep, 23 2003 @ 12:31 AM
First step, make criminals out of people who weren't before (done)
Second step, hit them with everything.
Ashcroft Reducing Plea Bargain Discretion
Mon Sep 22, 7:37 PM ET Add White House - AP Cabinet & State to My Yahoo!
By CURT ANDERSON, Associated Press Writer
WASHINGTON - Federal prosecutors were ordered Monday by Attorney General John Ashcroft (news - web sites) to pursue maximum criminal charges and
sentences whenever possible and to seek lesser penalties through plea bargains only in limited circumstances.
An Ashcroft memo sent to all 94 U.S. attorneys' offices supersedes policy during former Attorney General Janet Reno (news - web sites)'s tenure that
allowed prosecutors greater individual discretion to determine if the charges and potential punishment fit the crime.
Ashcroft said his intent is to bring greater consistency to criminal prosecutions around the country.
"It's a direction for the way we prosecute criminal behavior at the federal level," Ashcroft said Monday after a speech in Cincinnati. "If you
violate a federal law, punishment will be uniform."
The policy change is the latest example of Ashcroft's attempts to bring greater symmetry — critics say inflexibility — to the federal justice system.
During the summer Ashcroft instructed U.S. attorneys to seek the death penalty whenever applicable, overruling some who would not, and to vigorously
oppose sentences imposed by judges that are lighter than recommended by federal guidelines.