WASHINGTON (AP) - Attorney General Eric Holder says he is expanding a major change in federal drug policy to cover pending drug cases. Last month, Holder announced that low-level, nonviolent drug offenders would no longer be charged with felonies that carry lengthy mandatory sentences.
Those mandatory minimum prison sentences, a legacy of the government's war on drugs, limit the discretion of judges to impose shorter prison terms. Under the latest change, the new policy will be broadened to apply to defendants who have not yet been convicted. The policy also may be applied, at the discretion of prosecutors, to cases in which a sentence has not yet been imposed. Holder says the government should reserve the most severe prison terms for serious, high-level or violent drug traffickers.