(Headline USA) Attorney General Merrick Garland has taken action to soften the legal punishments for crack-cocaine.
Federal law requires mandatory minimum sentences for individuals caught in possession of crack cocaine.
With changes to the law stalled in Congress, Garland instructed prosecutors to file charges that avoid the mandatory minimum sentences that are triggered for smaller amounts of rock cocaine.
The top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, said Garland’s move jeopardizes legislative talks on the issue. Grassley said the attorney general’s “baffling and misguided” instructions amount to asking prosecutors to disregard current law.
The mandatory-minimum policies came as the use of illicit drugs, including crack cocaine in the late 1980s, was accompanied by an alarming spike in homicides and other violent crimes nationwide.
Adapted from reporting by the Associated Press