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New attorney general decides to crack down on drug crime

The change in the political administration from Obama to Trump may have more legal consequences than most judicial experts imagined. News out of Washington shows that California residents and others throughout the country may be in store for a more aggressive approach to street crime, which could increase the number of criminal defense cases nationwide. Jeff Sessions, the nation's new attorney general, has given statements indicating that he will crack down on drug crime, assault, weapons crimes, and a variety of other violations with the transition in political administrations.

Of particular concern to Sessions are the drug crimes that he contends are plaguing our nation. Experts anticipate an increase in the number of attempted drug prosecutions in California and elsewhere. They also say that the average length of a drug crime sentence could grow, even as prosecutors decide that they want to pursue lower-level violators. This, of course, flies in the face of the ethos promoted by the previous administration, which had attempted to limit drug crime enforcement to promote social equality.

Studies show that about half of the people who are incarcerated in the federal system right now are drug offenders. Politicians on both sides of the aisle had been working to lower that number, along with the total prison population, because of the high costs of keeping American citizens in custody. Now, though, Sessions appears to be promoting additional enforcement for lower-level crimes, which would raise the prison population and open the door for more private prisons to operate.

These trends are important to note for defendants who are facing drug crime accusations. A national movement toward increased enforcement could lead to an unfavorable situation for defendants in California. Your attorney can provide you with more information so you understand your legal rights and options in today's political climate.

Source: PBS, "Sessions’ tough on crime talk could lead to fuller prisons," Eric Tucker, Feb. 26, 2017

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