Eric Holder And Rand Paul Finally Have Something On Which They Can Agree

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Attorney General Eric Holder and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.) are two men most Americans don’t expect to see mentioned in the same sentence unless there is a rhetorical battle underway. But an announcement that the Justice Department will soon set out to reform mandatory minimum sentencing for low-level drug offenders could present the men a rare collaborative opportunity.

Attorney General Eric Holder attends an event on the Equal Pay Act

Holder announced Monday that Justice would move forward with a comprehensive prison reform package that includes plans to eliminate mandatory sentences for low-level, nonviolent drug offenders with no gang or large-scale drug organization affiliations. He also said that the Justice Department would implement policies to reduce sentences for elderly, nonviolent inmates and seek alternatives to prison for other nonviolent offenders.

“We must face the reality that, as it stands, our system is, in too many ways, broken,” Holder said. “And with an outsized, unnecessarily large prison population, we need to ensure that incarceration is used to punish, to deter and to rehabilitate — not merely to warehouse and to forget.”

“A vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities,” Holder continued.

Paul has already proposed a bill which would give judges more options to bypass mandatory minimum sentences for drug offenders. And following the Holder announcement, the Senator expressed interest in working with the Justice Department as it enacts the reforms.

“I look forward to working with them to advance my bipartisan legislation, the Justice Safety Valve Act, to permanently restore justice and preserve judicial discretion in federal cases,” Paul said in a statement. “…The Administration’s involvement in this bipartisan issue is a welcome development. Now the hard work begins to change the law to permanently address this injustice.”

And an anonymous Paul staffer told The Washington Post, “This is already a bipartisan issue, led in the Senate by Sens. Paul, [Patrick] Leahy, [Mike] Lee and [Richard] Durbin … Senator Paul believes strongly in this issue and that we must find a solution. He is pleased to work with all who agree and want to push forward.”

While the Justice Department will initially work through reforms that require no Congressional input, Holder is expected to announce support for Paul’s bipartisan Justice Safety Valve Act.

The rare collaboration of libertarian-leaning Paul and the Obama Justice Department on a set of issues carrying hefty fiscal and social import could further complicate the relationship between the Kentucky Senator and establishment members of the GOP. But it also presents an opportunity for Paul to win the hearts of many people outside of the Republican Party.

That could earn him support from people who are traditionally not Republican fans, as well as those conservative voters who see establishment Republicans like Senators John McCain (Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (S.C.) as the reason for many of the Party’s biggest problems.

Personal Liberty

Sam Rolley

Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After covering community news and politics, Rolley took a position at Personal Liberty Media Group where could better hone his focus on his true passions: national politics and liberty issues. In his daily columns and reports, Rolley works to help readers understand which lies are perpetuated by the mainstream media and to stay on top of issues ignored by more conventional media outlets.

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  • Vigilant

    “[Holder] also said that the Justice Department would implement policies to reduce sentences for elderly, nonviolent inmates and seek alternatives to prison for other nonviolent offenders.”

    See Ben Crystal’s article today (http://personalliberty.com/2013/08/13/presidential-fraud/)

    Maybe Bernie Madoff will get out of prison after all.

    • wandamurline

      Or they are releasing the blind sheik.

  • Vigilant

    “A vicious cycle of poverty, criminality and incarceration traps too many Americans and weakens too many communities,” Holder continued.

    Yes, by all means, put the neighborhood drug dealers back on the ghetto streets. That’s sure to strengthen those communities.

    And Libertarians wonder why traditional Conservatives won’t vote for their candidates. When flaming progressives like Leahy and Durbin support anything, you know there’s something rotten in Denmark.

    • rhondareichel

      Who is saying there shouldn’t be a penalty for selling drugs ?….of course there should be and any dealer caught doing violence should surely go to prison but the punishment has not fit the crime since they passed mandatory sentences.
      We should treat it like we do alcohol….that’s a drug too. If you get in your car & drive drunk and kill somebody you go to prison. Simple.

      Right now murderers, rapist, child molesters get less time than these druggies. I would rather have THEM locked up.

      • Vigilant

        “Right now murderers, rapist, child molesters get less time than these druggies.”

        Absolutely false. You’ve lost your credibility completely.

        http://edr.state.fl.us/Content/resource-demand/criminal-justice/reports/criminal-justice/cj25.pdf

      • Bob in Florida

        ” If you get in your car & drive drunk and kill somebody you go to prison.”

        How many times does someone have to get arrested for drunk driving before you would be willing to put them in jail – instead of waiting for them to kill someone?

        There are far too many instances of habitual offenders finally killing someone, after having numerous DUI arrests. That is inexcusable!

        You say, “Right now murderers, rapist, child molesters get less time than these druggies. I would rather have THEM locked up.”

        That I agree with!

        I believe the answer to this dichotomy is to make all judges subject to recall – at all levels, including the Supreme Court. If a judge cannot enforce the laws, as written, without bias, or judicial activism, they should be removed from the bench.

    • rhondareichel

      When every problem looks like a nail— a hammer is the only tool you will use.
      Speaking of traditional since what year did our prison population explode into this unaffordable monstrosity we have today? When mandatory sentencing got passed the prison population skyrocketed.
      As a traditional conservative you never mention the cost factor or the fact that a lot of your conservative views are just flat unsustainable. Well wake up sunshine because the economy is about to collapse and a lot of your highly held principles are going to vanish like a puff of smoke.

      There is no PRACTICALITY in these long drug sentences any more than our foreign policy of policing the world is sustainable.
      17 TRILLION DOLLARS IN DEBT and we have people like you and the democrats to thank for it.

      • Vigilant

        That emotion-laden and fact-bereft screed speaks for itself. No need to answer a looney.

        P.S. Learn what it means to be a Conservative before you leap, dearie.

      • DoUC

        So you don’t take any prescriptions? You don’t use Sugar or Caffeine? You haven’t ever over eaten or had fast food? The fact of the matter is we are all chasing some sort of feel good chemicals. It is part of the human condition so stop being such a hypocrite.

        • Bob in Florida

          But. . .I don’t know anyone who robbed a 7-11 to get a sugar fix!
          Or, held up a Starbucks to get his next cup o’Joe.
          Maybe you’re from NYC and know of a guy who had a 20oz. soft drink and punched out a bus driver chasing his next “feel good chemicals”?
          Yes, we’re all subject to the “human conditon” you refer to. But, we don’t respond to that condition the same way drug users do.
          Am I missing some valid point you made?

      • 5live5

        And how many people have lost their life savings to white collar criminals that are also covered by mandatory sentences. Then again, how many murderers and rapists are walking the street right now because the “mandatory seven extra years for committing a crime with a gun” laws are NOT ENFORCED or bargained out?? I know a piece of scum that raped a mentally handicapped girl at gun point and got six months! He bargained that it was a pellet gun but that doesn’t matter when the girl, his victim, thought it was a real gun! The law states that if the gun puts the victim in fear of losing their life, it is enough! If it says MANDITORY, IT SHOULD BE!!!

  • Vigilant

    Any “solution” is nothing but a band aid. The fastest growing portion of the US prison population is illegal aliens. THAT’S the problem that needs to be worked.

    • Debbie Hogan Tate

      Actually it is Blacks (63%) then Hispanics, then Whites. Facts from the Sentencing Project. Obama’s plan to hire black criminals in motion! Have to release them first!

      • Vigilant

        Please read my posting again. I didn’t claim they were the largest portion, I said they were the fastest growing portion. A big difference.

      • Alan

        They will likely be hired by the government to work at NSA.

  • Vigilant

    “Attorney General Eric Holder is planning to use his broad executive powers to free tens of thousands of criminals from federal prisons and to encourage states to do likewise.

    “Under the guise of releasing “non-violent” and “low level” criminals, the Attorney General is going to let drug dealers back out on the street, having completed their graduate education in crime during their incarceration. By the time drug offenses are pled, they often end up as “non-violent” crimes, but frequently those classified as such are really quite violent and dangerous. To presuppose that these men and women are low level and just caught up in the system is a very dangerous and self-defeating position.

    “Holder gets his powers from the Supreme Court decision invalidating the 1986 mandatory sentencing federal law — one of the most successful in history. The Court loosened the mandatory sentencing framework and gave judges back some of the latitude they had enjoyed before which led to turnstile justice, freeing criminals as fast as we locked them up. The 1986 law passed the Senate unanimously, sponsored by Jesse Helms and Ted Kennedy, a pairing which suggested the shared frustration of all Americans with the slap-on-the-wrist sentences being handed out.

    “But after the Court struck down this law, judges and prosecutors still used the sentencing requirements as guidelines and suggestions and tough sentences have remained the norm. Until Holder.

    “Two key phenomena have happened simultaneous with a 25% drop in felony crime in the past twenty years and a halving of the murder rate: Federal sentencing guidelines and increased gun possession. As a result of federal guidelines (and the similar truth-in-sentencing laws at the state level), the prison population has doubled during this period and now approximates 2.5 million. Gun possession, in this same period, has gone up 20%. Where in the mid-nineties, only 41% of American households reported owning guns, now 48% do today.

    “The twin deterrents of a criminal justice system that means business and widespread mean of self-protection have joined to cut the crime rate dramatically. But now Obama and Holder want to strike at the twin pillars of this progress: tough sentencing and gun possession.

    “They will reap what they sow. We can expect crime to rise again under the Holder guidelines. Once again, it will be the threat it was twenty years ago on the streets of our cities. The pendulum is swinging again.”

    Above from Dick Morris

    • rhondareichel

      Baloney…a lot of young kids selling pot to their friends are in prison and they come out hardened. Portugal got it right….10 years they have decriminalized drugs and useage is way down.
      We can’t afford to have millions in prison and Dick Morris is an idiot !

      • Vigilant
      • 5live5

        you mean like the three that beat the hell out of that boy on the bus??? they were dealing to friends and got probation and no hate crime specification!!

        • Robert Messmer

          OK hadn’t followed up on that one, but no hate crime involved–they were simply trying to kill someone who turned them in to authorities. Probably didn’t even think about the fact that he was white, other than maybe figure no one will bother to help him before we get done with him. I would be more interested to find out just why the authorities outed him to the three thugs.

          • 5live5

            Robert, I’m not racist in any way, but had it been three white youths beating the hell out of one black youth like that, Jessie and Sharpton would have been there raising hell yelling racists!!! they would have gotten, at the least a year in jail! the last almost five years there has been a real case of reverse discrimination!

          • Robert Messmer

            Can’t argue about that since we have just witnessed Jessie, Obama, and Sharpton yelling that in the Zimmerman case but they are wrong. Hope the white kid’s parents sue the tar out of the school district. Since it happened on a school bus, he was still under the care and supervision of the school, it was their job to protect him and they failed to do so. Personally I think their lawyer also needs to charge whoever outed him to the thugs with conspiracy to commit or something as well as liability.

    • Nadzieja Batki

      After crimes increase the populace will cry to the government to do something and then more laws, more loss of freedom under the guise of the government doing something. That’s and old and tried gambit and it has proved detrimental wherever tried.

    • Vigilant

      From the tenor and misdirection of your comments, it’s obvious that Stupidis Isstupid.

      • Bob in Florida

        One might say “Stupidis; as Stupid does!”

    • Robert Messmer

      A lot will depend on rather the arrest report is used or just the court plea. And if as you say a lot of the “non-violent” crimes are actually very violent, then your complaint is not with either Holder or Paul but with the District Attorney/State Attorney/Prosecutor who cut the deal instead of taking the real charges to trial. Those and the judges who agreed to such idiotic deals should be voted out or if not elected in your jurisdictions vote out those who appointed them to the office.

    • John

      What this is all about is more democrat voters. That’s first. Then they will also get a cut of the profits where ever they are generated. We are talking about the lowest form of life to ever appear on this planet. Democrats.

  • Dave

    The “drug” war is a miserable failure, except for the private prison machine like we have in AZ. They are making money hand over fist… as are the weapons makers, defense attourneys…
    If a person doesn’t understand the drugs are not good for you when you abuse them, then they being legal or not legal is not going to stop you… The people that support the “drug war” also do not care about the thousands being gunned down in the streets over drug territory and money. They live in nice areas so why shake up that apple cart?
    Busting people for drug offenses is the biggest waste of manpower and resources but as long as the prison system, the gun makers and trial lawyers continue to make money hand over fist off this charade, it will continue.

    • Bob in Florida

      Are you then suggesting that we just let anyone who chooses to use drugs, do so; and just drift freely through society committing whatever crimes they need to to support their habit?
      I suspect your answer would be – “Of course not! Just arrest them if they do commit a ‘real’ crime!”
      How many additional people will that put on the street who are under the influence of one drug, or another?
      And, does anyone have any idea how many more crimes will be committed by those now free and seeking to support their habit?
      I suspect the victims of those crimes (whether it is a mugging, robbery, car jacking, home invasion, stick up at a ‘stop-and-rob’, or whatever) will not be pleased with the policy of letting them roam free and ‘do their thing’ until they commit a ‘more heinous’ crime!

      • Maggie

        I think we should treat “drugs” like we treat alcohol. If you are under the influence of either, don’t drive. If you have an accident while doing so, you bear full responsibility. ANY person committing a crime, under the influence or otherwise, should be punished for said crime. But putting non-violent pot users in prison is like cutting off your finger to remove a splinter.

  • independent thinker

    Mr Livingston the article ” Federal Judge Scorches Bloomberg, NYPD In Landmark ‘Stop And Frisk’ Ruling »” and “California Legislature Moves Forward With UnConstitutional Bills Regulating Guns And Ammo »” are coming up as page expired. Could you have your tech people check into this and correct it.

  • pillsrgood

    Every 19 minutes a person dies from a prescription drug overdose. So lets be realistic about where the true drug problems lie. Marijuana is nothing more than a healing herb and is so misunderstood because the truth has been hidden away for so long. This is leading up to overall legalization of Cannabis.

  • robert christerson

    actually the death penalty should be 2 – years or less for murderers – rapists – child molesters – and no lethal injection – use a rope – homeinvaders – burglars and robberys – also should be a death sentance – drug dealers contribute to the problem with home invasions burglarys – robberys – as more states seclude – the treason colors show what runs the show – and after citys shut down – section 8 lawless thugs still run the show – i dont think people are nearly this blind

  • 5live5

    I do hope there is a clause in it that covers stiff penalties for reoffending. A lot of white collar, nonviolent crime ruins families. I don’t want to see them release a bunch of them to prey on the public again!

  • Dave

    Naming McCain and Graham as two of the biggest problems for the republican party is totally correct! I’m sure there are several other long term RINO’s that could be put on that list!

  • Bob in Florida

    Do you think Sen. Paul will go along with the Administration’s tendency to just cavalierly decide to not enforce laws they don’t want to enforce?. . . or, change them with Executive ‘Edicts’?

    • Don in Ohio

      Bob ask: Do you think Sen. Paul will go along with the Administration’s tendency
      to just cavalierly decide to not enforce laws they don’t want to
      enforce?
      No!

      • Bob in Florida

        I think you’re right, Don. (I certainly hope so. I have more hope for Rand Paul than that!)

        I’m just not sure from reading the article, exactly what Rand Paul was agreeing with Holder on; and I don’t want to jump to any conclusions.

        • ChiefBoring

          They were agreeing on the need for reform of mandatory sentencing laws. Judges should be allowed to be judges, not rubber stamps. Not all crimes require the serving of jail time, when fines and community service would serve a better imposition of justice. People who take drugs are mostly stupid, but not all of them derserve jail.

          • Bob in Florida

            Thank you. . . and I agree – judges should be allowed to . . . .well, ‘judge’!

            Mandatory sentencing seems to work out wrong about as often as it correct. Maybe that’s because we don’t hear about the cases where it isn’t appropriate? But, it’s back to the old saw about ‘it is better to let one criiminal go free, than to jail an innocent man.’?

            However, the concern remains about judges who pursue an agenda, rather than applying the law as it is written. That, I think, was the genesis for the mandatory sentence activity in recent years. How do we solve the one without encouraging the other?

            Perhaps by making all judges subject to recall?

          • ChiefBoring

            “Perhaps by making all judges subject to recall?” Good idea! Or perhaps make them subject to a periodic up or down vote.