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
The Sentencing Guidelines are issued by the serious group of learned individuals within U.S. Sentencing Commission. It is difficult to pass by a website, with a loud name Sentencing Us (http://www.sentencing.us) without a smile and a token of appreciation to Josh Goldfoot. Sentencing Us is time calculator, kind like a mortgage calculator, except that the former is designed for convicted criminals, while the latter is designed for homeowners. The sentencing guidelines calculator even comes with a mobile edition, enabling those who are about to commit a criminal act, to get a sneak preview of what is to come if caught, from the convenience of one’s mobile smartphone. Notwithstanding its limitations, such work is a positive example of attorney’s attitude towards the modern realities of the Federal criminal law.