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It’s hard to think of anything new and clever to say about how bad the Biden administration is on public safety issues, but it must be said.
On December 16, 2022, Merrick Garland of the Biden Justice Department issued a memorandum to all federal prosecutors entitled, “Additional Department Policies Regarding Charging, Pleas, and Sentencing in Drug Cases.”
In the memo, Garland directs his line attorneys across the country to try to avoid charging offenders with crimes that carry mandatory minimums—especially when the underlying crimes are drug crimes. His reasoning? “The perceived and actual racial disparities in the criminal justice system.”
This reckless rhetoric, pushed by Obama and Biden, has made our country a far more dangerous place to live.
DC POISED TO SOFTEN PENALTIES FOR CARJACKING, OTHER VIOLENT CRIMES, DESPITE MAYOR’S VETO
From 2003 to 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice maintained a policy that federal prosecutors “must charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense or offenses that are supported by the facts of the case.” But in May of 2010, Eric Holder—our second most radical U.S. Attorney General—changed that policy, explaining that “equal justice depends on individualized justice” and that prosecutors must undergo an “individualized assessment” of the defendant before pursuing the most serious provable offense. In 2017, Jeff Sessions sensibly returned the Department to the Ashcroft-era policy.
Discarding 35 years of determinate sentencing under the federal guidelines, Merrick Garland has now directed the entire federal prosecutorial ranks to embrace what Dr. Thomas Sowell called the “disparate impact racket.”
The worst part of it is, those whom Obama and Biden claim to be looking out for have paid the heaviest price when it comes to their safety. As Vice President Kamala Harris recently observed, “black people are 13% of America’s population, but make up 62% of America’s homicide victims.” A report by the national Center for Victim Research found that “the overall risk of violent victimization is highest among persons who are younger, male, black, living in the poorest households, and living in urban areas.”
And make no mistake, drug crime is violent crime.
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Even in Alabama, fentanyl and other opioids are ranked as the second-greatest contributor to violent crime and property crime—and they’re not even being produced here. According to Alabama’s most recent drug-threat assessment, Black drug-trafficking organizations are primarily responsible for the wholesale and retail distribution of fentanyl here, while White drug-trafficking organizations play an equal role in transporting it throughout our state.
Selective application of mandatory minimums based on skin color is simply untenable when the goal is to stop the loss of life. Last fall, a 16-year-old male died of a fentanyl overdose at Selma High School—should the race of the dealer really be considered when it comes to the punishment for that tragedy?
Alabama’s federal prosecutors, just like its state and local prosecutors, know what is going on in their communities. They must have the autonomy, along with their task force officers and agents, to manage their cases as they see fit. Undermining the work of federal law enforcement—tasked with removing predatory and repeat offenders from our communities—only emboldens the criminal element.
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The bad guys know what lands you in the federal penitentiary and exactly how much time you’ll serve, and that certainty is both an effective deterrent and a reason to cooperate. The dilution of that certainty also undermines the cooperative partnerships between federal, state, and local law enforcement, as so often, states look to federal prosecutors to help ensure that someone is taken off the streets for a significant period and sent far away from home.
Merrick Garland will have long departed the DOJ by the time the real-life consequences of his catastrophic policies begin to show up in the crime data. It will be up to the states, that he has so little regard for, to clean up his mess.