Taking Stock of Changing Prosecutorial Policies

5 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2017  

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law

Steven L. Chanenson

Villanova University School of Law

Date Written: September 2017

Abstract

In this brief, forthcoming Editors’ Observations for the Federal Sentencing Reporter, we place in context Attorney General Sessions’ May 2017 memorandum recalibrating charging and sentencing policies for the U.S. Department of Justice. Given the pendulum-like movement of federal prosecutorial policies over the past four decades, few should have been too surprised by the shift away from the policies of Attorney General Holder. In the end, what arguably has been most striking and unusual about the issuance of the Sessions Memo is how much attention and criticism it has received from the media and policy advocates even though it substantively represents a return to policies in place throughout much of the modern federal sentencing era. This greater awareness of the role and significance of prosecutorial decision-making is itself something worth celebrating regardless of one’s view of the substantive commitments represented by the Sessions Memo.

Keywords: Criminal Law, Criminal Procedure, Criminal Sentencing, Discretion, Punishment

Suggested Citation

Berman, Douglas A. and Chanenson, Steven L., Taking Stock of Changing Prosecutorial Policies (September 2017). Federal Sentencing Reporter, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3042683

Douglas A. Berman

Ohio State University (OSU) - Michael E. Moritz College of Law ( email )

55 West 12th Street
Columbus, OH 43210
United States
614-688-8690 (Phone)

Steven L. Chanenson (Contact Author)

Villanova University School of Law ( email )

299 N. Spring Mill Road
Villanova, PA 19085
United States
610-519-7459 (Phone)
610-519-6472 (Fax)

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