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Sessions pushes for better prosecution of most violent offenders

Thursday, March 9, 2017 6:51
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Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Reducing violent crime has been a priority for Attorney General Jeff Sessions since his first day in office. (Photo: Associated Press)

Federal prosecutors across the country were asked Wednesday by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions to engage in greater efforts focused on investigating, prosecuting, and deterring the country’s most violent offenders.

In a memo sent to all 94 U.S. Attorney’s Offices, Sessions said violent crime must be made a “special priority” and combatting it will require the “decisive action” of federal prosecutors everywhere.

“We do have strong evidence that aggressive prosecutions of federal laws can be effective in combatting crime,” Sessions said, noting a recent rise in violent crimes coupled with a decrease in federal prosecutions.

The memorandum came a week after Sessions announced the creation of the Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, which will play a large role in obtaining the goal.

The crimes Sessions wants to pay special attention to include, but aren’t limited to firearms offenses, including possession and straw purchasing offenses; possession of a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime or drug trafficking offense; Hobbs Act robbery; carjacking; violent crime in aid of racketeering; Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; and drug offenses under the Controlled Substances Act.

Sessions said prosecutors and law enforcement should use every available tool to put violent offenders behind bars and keep citizens safe. He also urged prosecutors to work closely with federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners and to determine which venue is the best option for identifying and getting violent offenders off of the streets, charged, and punished for their crimes in a timely manner.

However, Sessions also acknowledged that many prosecutors are already using the suggested strategies. He asked those to not only keep it up but increase these efforts to ensure the desired results are achieved.

“By consistently identifying the leading violent offenders in our communities and employing all available tools to hold them accountable, we will combat violent crime,” Sessions concluded.

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