WICHITA, Kan. (AP) – Defense attorneys say they worry that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ directive to pursue the most serious charges and longest sentences possible is likely to thwart recent efforts to address heavy-handed practices by some federal prosecutors in Kansas City, Kansas.
Sessions’ directive impacts federal prosecutions across the nation, but it has raised particular concerns about the Kansas City office where a yearslong struggle has been underway to curb what the defense bar calls prosecutorial abuses.
Sessions says violence in some big cities and the opioid epidemic show a need for a return to tougher tactics. Critics call it a return to failed drug-war policies.
U.S. Attorney Tom Beall’s office issued a statement saying Sessions’ directive gives his office discretion to apply the law to the facts of each case.