This week U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced a change in policy that could offer some benefit to people charged with federal drug crimes. Make no mistake, these are policy directives only and not federal law – and their impact is likely to be minimal. In fact, I’m not even sure that we will see a real change. Nonetheless, it is at least a start in reforming our unfair, arbitrary, expensive, and self-defeating federal drug laws. Here is what Holder said he would do:
* Direct US Attorneys to develop local strategies for determining “when federal charges should be filed, and when they should not.” This may mean that local prosecutors should use more discretion when deciding which cases to actually charge federally….