It is rare to see criminal defense professionals and state prosecutors landing on the same side of an issue, but these are surprising times, to say the least. Recently, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra took on the Trump administration’s urging for states to pursue harsher drug crime sentences. In a statement to the Sacramento Press Club, Becerra called the notion of pushing for the harshest achievable drug sentences “crazy,” claiming that the policy would adversely affect people of color and underprivileged communities.
The response came after United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions instructed federal prosecutors to go after the “the most serious, readily provable offense” when prosecuting drug crimes. If this policy comes into effect, those facing drug charges could see years or even decades of their lives evaporate.
Fortunately, Becerra seems to understand that harsher sentences do not make streets safer, but do punish individuals for the benefit of politicians. Still, this is not an indication that you should take drug charges lightly. Even though California generally maintains a reasonable attitude toward drug offenses compared to other states, there is still plenty of room to lose years of your life because of unfair charges or a foolish mistake.
If you face drug charges of any kind, do not hesitate to reach out to an experienced attorney to protect your rights and fight for your future. Drug sentencing guidelines still place harsh sentences on drug crimes well beyond any other nonviolent crimes. Without a strong legal defense, you may be behind bars well after this presidential administration is history.
Source: Los Angeles Times, “California’s attorney general says Trump administration’s new emphasis on drug prosecutions is ‘crazy’,” John Myers, May 15, 2017