ACLU Responds to Mukasey’s Remarks on Federal Sentencing Guidelines

January 28, 2008 12:00 am

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Washington, DC – The American Civil Liberties Union criticized remarks Attorney General Michael Mukasey made on Friday suggesting he would seek to derail a decision by the U.S. Sentencing Commission to apply recent changes in federal crack cocaine sentencing guidelines retroactively.

Mukasey told reporters during a Justice Department briefing that the potential release of so many prisoners could cause violent crime to spike in cities. The ACLU criticized Mukasey’s statement.

The following can be attributed to ACLU Legislative Counsel Jesselyn McCurdy:

“Attorney General Mukasey is following the administration playbook of irrational fear mongering by suggesting that the U.S. Sentencing Commission’s decision to end two decades of disparate justice will result in the premature release of violent criminals. USSC simply ruled that the sentencing guidelines should conform to federal mandatory minimums and that this sensible and much-needed reform be applied retroactively. Mr. Mukasey is well aware that offenders will have to have their cases reviewed by a judge to determine whether they are eligible to be re-sentenced and released from prison. As a former federal judge himself, Mr. Mukasey should understand that judges will only use their discretion to re-sentence offenders who deserve to be released under the law. We call on Congress to reject any attempts to pass legislation that would reinstate the old unequal and unjust system.”

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