Newsbrief: In Swan Song, Ashcroft Calls for Harsher Sentences, Chastizes Foes 2/4/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!


http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/373/goodriddance.shtml

Let it at least be said of outgoing Attorney General John Ashcroft that he is consistent. During his term as the nation's top law man, the self-avowed Christian conservative was a relentless advocate of "tough on crime" policies. In a Tuesday speech that may well be his swan song -- his successor, Alberto Gonzalez, won Senate approval Thursday -- Ashcroft was still talking that old time religion.

good riddance
While most of his remarks consisted of a self-laudatory defense of the PATRIOT Act and his record of prosecuting the war on terrorism, Ashcroft spared a couple of minutes to viciously attack last month's Supreme Court decision invalidating the mandatory federal sentencing guideline system and rending it merely advisory. The court held that the 18-year-old practice of allowing judges to increase sentences based on factors -- such as the quantity of drugs involved -- never heard by a jury violated defendants' right to a jury trial.

The decision, in a pair of cases known as Booker and Fan Fan, threatens public security, Ashcroft darkly warned. "Last month's Supreme Court ruling that federal judges are not bound by sentencing guidelines is a retreat from justice that may put the public's safety in jeopardy," Ashcroft declared. "Which of our daughters, wives and husbands are we willing to sacrifice to return to revolving door justice?" He demanded that Congress "reinstitute tough sentences and certain justice for criminals."

But tough federal sentences, especially for drug offenders have not gone away. Under federal mandatory minimum sentence laws, which were not affected by the Booker and Fan Fan decision, sales of retail amounts of drugs such as crack cocaine continue to garner lengthy prison sentences. Drug war prisoners now make up more than half of all federal prisoners, a trend that Bureau of Justice Statistics figure show only accelerated during Ashcroft's reign.

Ashcroft also used the occasion to lambaste critics of his "stuff the prisons" policy, calling his foes "cynics and defeatists" and calling out the nation's leading newspaper by name. "The New York Times annually sums up this resistance to reality when it runs a story wondering with violent crime at an all-time low why so many people are in prison," he said.

The speech drew loud applause from the audience at the conservative Heritage Foundation in Washington, where he spoke Tuesday night.

-- END --
Link to Drug War Facts
Please make a generous donation to support Drug War Chronicle in 2007!          

PERMISSION to reprint or redistribute any or all of the contents of Drug War Chronicle (formerly The Week Online with DRCNet is hereby granted. We ask that any use of these materials include proper credit and, where appropriate, a link to one or more of our web sites. If your publication customarily pays for publication, DRCNet requests checks payable to the organization. If your publication does not pay for materials, you are free to use the materials gratis. In all cases, we request notification for our records, including physical copies where material has appeared in print. Contact: StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network, P.O. Box 18402, Washington, DC 20036, (202) 293-8340 (voice), (202) 293-8344 (fax), e-mail [email protected]. Thank you.

Articles of a purely educational nature in Drug War Chronicle appear courtesy of the DRCNet Foundation, unless otherwise noted.

Issue #373 -- 2/4/05

Drug War Chronicle, recent top items

more...

recent blog posts "In the Trenches" activist feed

SUBSCRIBE TODAY!!!

Drug War Chronicle's Phil Smith Featured in New Book -- "Under The Influence" Available as DRCNet Premium | Editorial: DEA Has Stepped In It This Time | "Not Your Father's Marijuana" Canard Again Exposed -- This Time by DEA | Never Say Die: Nevada Marijuana Regulation Initiative is Back After Favorable Federal Court Ruling | DRCNet Interview: Roger Goodman, King County Bar Association Drug Policy Project | Blogging: Mobile, Alabama Police Chief Stuck "Inside the Box" Over City's Rising Drug Trade Violence, and More | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Stories | Newsbrief: DEA Pain FAQ Retract Flap Fallout Continues -- Criticism Comes from Unexpected Direction as Agency Seeks Comments | Newsbrief: HEA Repeal Picking Up Steam -- Congressional Advisory Committee, Arizona Legislators Urge Rescinding of Souder's Law | Newsbrief: DEA Must Pay Hemp Industry Plaintiff's Legal Bills, Court Rules | Newsbrief: Indiana Official Calls for National Agency to Provide Drugs to Addicts | Newsbrief: In Swan Song, Ashcroft Calls for Harsher Sentences, Chastizes Foes | Newsbrief: Man Bites Dog! Arkansas Bill to Lower Meth Sentences Moves Forward | Newsbrief: London Top Cop Warns He Will Target Casual Cocaine Users | Newsbrief: Belgian Cannabis Clarification Now in Effect | Newsbrief: Spanish Pharmacies to Begin Selling Medical Marijuana | Newsbrief: Safe Injection Site Opens in Oslo | Newsbrief: Rastas, Watch Out At Ethiopian Marley Fest, State Department Warns | Newsbrief: India Narcs Set Off Prescription Drug Panic | This Week in History | The Reformer's Calendar |

Mail this article to a friend
Send us feedback on this article
This issue -- main page
This issue -- single-file printer version
Drug War Chronicle -- main page
Chronicle archives
Subscribe now!
Out from the Shadows HEA Drug Provision Drug War Chronicle Perry Fund DRCNet en EspaŮol Speakeasy Blogs About Us Home
Why Legalization? NJ Racial Profiling Archive Subscribe Donate DRCNet em PortuguÍs Latest News Drug Library Search
special friends links: SSDP - Flex Your Rights - IAL - Drug War Facts

StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network (DRCNet)
1623 Connecticut Ave., NW, 3rd Floor, Washington DC 20009 Phone (202) 293-8340 Fax (202) 293-8344 [email protected]