The federal government has reopened the “War on Drugs,” at the same time putting many Michigan residents in the line of fire of overzealous prosecutors.
As reported by The Washington Post, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has ordered some 5,000 federal prosecutors to seek the most severe charges and penalties possible in drug cases. Critics, including civil rights groups and prominent politicians (Republicans and Democrats alike), say this means a return to mandatory minimum sentences that unfairly target minority defendants and nonviolent offenders who pose no threat to public safety. We discussed this in detail back in May.
The news comes at a time when drug use continues to grow across the United States. In a 2017 study, WalletHub reports that the number of people who admitted to ever using illicit drugs rose from 31.3 percent in 1979 to 48.8 percent in 2015, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. Drug overdose deaths more than tripled from 2000 (17,415) to 2015 (52,404). In addition, WalletHub noted the number of people in prisons or jails for drug offenses rose by eleven times from 1980 (40,900) to 2015 (469,545), according to The Sentencing Project.
New federal policies will impact Michigan due to high levels of drug use
The announcement by Sessions is big news for Michigan because of the state’s ranking in the WalletHub study. That report places Michigan as 10th in the nation in drug use. Specifically, the state ranked sixth in drug use and addiction, 15th in law enforcement and 30th in drug health issues and rehabilitation.
And now prosecutors have been given the go-ahead to return to the days of targeting small-time drug suspects, including a disproportionate number of minorities, leading to mass incarcerations. Critics believe hard-line prosecutors will seize on the attorney general’s directive as an excuse to bust these offenders, often just to attract media attention.
As noted by The Washington Post, large quantities of drugs can force judges to impose mandatory minimum sentences of 10 years for a kilogram of heroin, five kilograms of cocaine or 1,000 kilograms of marijuana.
If you or a loved one becomes a casualty in the federal government’s misguided attempts to revive the widely discredited “War on Drugs” of the 1980s and 1990s, a lengthy prison sentence will tear apart your family emotionally, mentally and financially. You need an experienced drug defense attorney who will act even more aggressively than police and prosecutors in protecting your rights. To learn more, contact us for a free case evaluation.