DOJ To Overhaul Clemency Process For Drug Offenders

Source: The Huffington Post

WASHINGTON — The Justice Department will announce this week new criteria for recommending that President Barack Obama grant clemency to federal drug offenders, a move that Attorney General Eric Holder anticipates will result in “thousands” of applications for reduced sentences.

Deputy Attorney General James Cole will announce the new criteria later this week, Holder said in a Justice Department video message released Monday. The DOJ’s Office of the Pardon Attorney has been criticized in recent years for recommending that the president deny the overwhelming majority of petitions, and criminal justice advocates have attacked Obama’s poor record on clemency.

But Holder said Monday that the Justice Department would enlist potentially dozens of lawyers to help with the new clemency push.

“Later this week, the deputy attorney general will announce new criteria that the department will consider when recommending applications for the president’s review. This new and improved approach will make the criteria for clemency recommendation more expansive. This will allow the Department of Justice and the president to consider requests from a larger field of eligible individuals,” Holder said.

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