Friday, August 08, 2003

Ashcroft Targeting Federal Judges

'Attorney General John D. Ashcroft has ordered U.S. attorneys across the country to become much more aggressive in reporting to the Justice Department cases in which federal judges impose lighter sentences than called for in sentencing guidelines. ... In his memo to prosecutors, Ashcroft quoted approvingly from a May 5 speech by Rehnquist in which the chief justice said it was up to Congress to set sentencing policies. The memo did not quote another section of the same speech in which Rehnquist said that gathering information on sentencing practices could help Congress make decisions, but also 'could amount to an unwarranted and ill-considered effort to intimidate individual judges in the performance of their judicial duties.''

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