Washington, DC (May 12, 2017) – This morning, the Washington Post made public the May 10, 2017, Sessions Memo regarding Department of Justice charging and sentencing policy issued to more than 5,000 assistant United States attorneys and all assistant attorneys general. The policy represents a dramatic departure from the previous policy, which called for prosecutors in all cases to "individually evaluate the unique facts and circumstances and select charges and seek sentences that are fair and proportional based upon this individualized assessment."
The new policy declared by Attorney General Sessions recites that "it is a core principle that prosecutors should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense" and that "[a]ny inconsistent previous policy of the Department of Justice relating to these matters is rescinded," pointing specifically to Department Policy on Charging Mandatory Minimum Sentences and Recidivist Enhancements in Certain Drug Cases (August 12, 2013), often referred to as "The Holder Memo;" and Guidance Regarding § 851 Enhancements in Plea Negotiations (September 24, 2014). The new policy allows for exceptions only in cases approved by a U.S. attorney, assistant attorney general, or a supervisor designated by the U.S. attorney or assistant attorney general, and the reasons underlying any departure from the policy must be documented in the file.
"This Attorney General has taken away the discretion of professional prosecutors to determine what sentence serves justice in any given case," said National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) President Barry J. Pollack. "Instead, prosecutors are now required in every case mindlessly to seek the maximum possible penalty. The new policy resurrects the failed one size fits all approach to criminal justice of prior Administrations. Those policies led to the shameful mass incarceration that made the United States first in the world in putting its citizens in jail. The Attorney General should be applying a fact-based approach to public health matters like drug addiction and abuse. Instead, he has established a policy that will lock up non-violent offenders with little or no criminal history, waste untold millions of dollars, devastate families and whole communities, and yet not make us any safer."
Cross-Examination Trial Pack
NACDL’s new Cross-Examination Trial Pack includes three of our best-selling Cross-Examination resources: “Damage Control: Situational Cross-Examination Techniques Trial Guide”, "Ultimate Cross 2.0: Audio Recordings & Written Materials" and "Sample Cross-Examination Questions."
This masterful collection of cross-examination resources provide countless tips, techniques and strategies for a variety of criminal case-specific scenarios. Learn to cross-examine a variety of trial witnesses!
Death Investigation: Forensic Pathology in the Courtroom and Cause & Manner of Death (2022)
This unique program provides criminal defense lawyers with an accurate and clear overview of forensic pathology and the countless factors to consider in a death investigation and will methodically explain what happens during an autopsy to determine cause and manner of death.
You'll uncover the different types of medicolegal death investigations, what to request from your MDI expert, quality benchmarks for accreditation and certification, guidelines and standards, common terminology and frequently asked questions.
The Psychology of Persuasion & Storytelling for Criminal Defense Lawyers
This Trial Resource Guide is a masterful collection of practical tips, techniques and strategies focused solely on using the arts and sciences of persuasion to improve your storytelling skills at trial.
You'll learn how to master the ability to communicate with juries, deliver powerful openings and closings, perform convincing cross-examinations, use effective courtroom choreography and non-verbal communication, identify and develop the optimal theme and theory for your case, and offer compelling arguments during mitigation and sentencing.
Zealous Advocacy in Sexual Assault & Child Victims Cases (2022)
Defending charges of sexual assault and child abuse can be daunting — but with the right tools, it doesn’t have to be.
Every year, NACDL identifies the hottest topics and most pressing issues when defending these cases, and brings-in nationally-renowned lawyers and experts to help you prepare for battle. This year’s 13th Annual Defending Sex Cases training program is our best yet; packed with topics and speakers you won’t want to miss!
Ivan J. Dominguez, NACDL Director of Public Affairs & Communications, (202) 465-7662 or firstname.lastname@example.org
The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.