Attorney General Jeff Sessions guided Department of Justice with respect to charging and sentencing policy through May 10, 2017 Memorandum. Memo directs prosecutors to “charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offense.” Memo defines most serious offense as one that carries “the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.” Deviation from directive would require approval “by a United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General, or a supervisor designated by the United States Attorney or Assistant Attorney General, and the reasons must be documented in the file.” Memo further directs prosecutors to stock to 18 U.S.C. § 3553 guidelines for sentencing. The memo still leaves open flexibility of application of “most serious” rubric on case by case basis. Nonetheless, the guidance may be a useful tool during Deferred Prosecution / Non-Prosecution Agreement negotiation.
Memorandum is published at the following DOJ link: https://www.justice.gov/opa/press-release/file/965896/download