Thursday, October 2, 2014

And, again, Mr. Holder on 851 policy

Another directive was handed down from outgoing AG Eric Holder on September 24, entitled Guidance Regarding Section 851 Enhancements in Plea Negotiations.  Essentially, it says one more time that 851 enhancements are not to be used in plea negotiations to force a guilty plea. The highlights from the one-page memo,

  • that in all cases, prosecutors must individually evaluate the unique facts and circumstances and select charges and seek sentences that are fair and proportional based upon this individualized assessment. 
  • § 851 enhancement should not be used in plea negotiations for the sole or predominant purpose of inducing a defendant to plead guilty.
  • Whether a defendant is pleading guilty is not one of the    factors enu­merated in the 851 charging policy.  
  • practice of routinely prem­ising the decision to file an § 85 1  enhancement solely on whether a defendant is entering a guilty plea . . . is inappropriate and inconsistent with the spirit of the  policy.

Here is the "I meant what I said the first time" memo. And here is what he said the first time, the August 12, 2013, memo. 

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