Attorney General Sessions Directs Federal Prosecutors to Target Most Significant Violent Offenders

3/8/17 – Attorney General Jeff Sessions today directed federal prosecutors nationwide to engage in a focused effort to investigate, prosecute and deter the most violent offenders.

This builds on the announcement last week of the creation of the U.S. Department of Justice Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety, which is central to the Attorney General’s commitment to combatting illegal immigration and violent crime, such as drug trafficking, gang violence and gun crimes, and to restoring public safety to all of the nation’s communities.

“Turning back our nation’s recent rise in violent crime is a top priority for the Department of Justice, and it requires decisive action from our federal prosecutors,” said Attorney General Sessions.  “I’m urging each of them to continue working closely with their counterparts at all levels, and to use every tool we have to put violent offenders behind bars and keep our citizens safe.”

In a memo to federal prosecutors in the department’s 94 United States Attorney’s Offices, the Attorney General made clear that prosecuting violent criminals is a high priority and prosecutors should work closely with their federal, state, local and tribal law enforcement partners to target the most violent offenders in each district.  Working together, law enforcement at every level should determine which venue – federal or state – would best get those identified immediately off our streets and punished appropriately for their crimes. 

The memo states when federal prosecution is determined appropriate, federal prosecutors should ensure the individuals driving violent crime in their district are prosecuted using the tools at their disposal, which may include firearms offenses, including possession and straw purchasing offenses; possession of a firearm during and in relation to a violent crime or drug trafficking offense; Hobbs Act robbery; carjacking; violent crime in aid of racketeering; Racketeering Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act; and drug offenses under the Controlled Substances Act, among others.

The Attorney General recognized that many offices are already employing these strategies and asked that those offices ensure their efforts are achieving the desired results.

Additional guidance and support in executing this priority will be forthcoming.

Memo on Commitment to Targeting Violent Crime

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