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Questions Asked Now, But Ignored Then

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Four senators closely identified with the "sentencing reform" movement have written the Attorney General, questioning his recent decision ordinarily to require federal prosecutors to charge defendants with the most serious readily provable offense.The letter is reproduced here, in the press release of one of its signatories, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT).

I might have a more detailed response to this letter in a bit, but for right now, I have some questions of my own.

1.  Why should prosecutors, whose main duty is to enforce the laws as Congress wrote them, charge the defendant with anything other than what he actually did? Isn't honesty the paramount value we seek in public servants?

2.  Why do pro-"reform" senators want the executive branch to, in effect, legislate the "reform" agenda for them through massaged charging policies?  (Hint:  Because they can't get it through a wised-up Congress, so they want a work-around.  Whether the Constitution provides for executive branch "work-arounds" of Congress is not among the questions in which they seem interested).

3.  Why is it proper for prosecutors intentionally to withhold highly relevant information from the indictment (such as the amount of drugs the defendant is peddling)?  Don't we value prosecutors who are fully candid with the court from the getgo?

4.  Why is it wrong to have to explain in writing the reasons for seeking exceptions in favor of leniency?  Isn't more reflection, accountability and transparency what we want from prosecutors?

5.  Why wasn't this letter written to Attorney General Holder, who used an identical charging policy for three-quarters of his tenure heading the Justice Department?

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