Sessions Revokes Obama-Era Letter To Local Courts On Fines And Fees On Poor Defendants
In another move aimed at collecting money from the poor, move U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is rescinding an Obama-era letter to local courts advising them to be wary of imposing stiff fees and penalties on poor defendants, according to The Washington Post.
The move comes as Sessions revokes more than two dozen Justice Department guidance documents going back to the 1990s on various topics, including programs to help defendants avoid jail time or pay hefty fines.
The Obama administration’s March 2016 letter to local courts said the department had a “strong interest” in protecting citizens’ rights and warned against using the fees to try to raise revenues for their jurisdictions.
The letter was addressed to courts and chief judges in every state and came after the White House and Justice Department at the time held a summit on the issue.
However, Sessions said he was directing Justice Department officials to stop putting out guidance documents in an effort to “impose new obligations on any party outside the executive branch,” The Post reports.
The Attorney General said the move would do away with “the long-standing abuse of issuing rules by simply publishing a letter or posting a web page.”
“Congress has provided for a regulatory process in statute, and we are going to follow it,” Sessions said. “This is good government and prevents confusing the public with improper and wrong advice,” he concluded, according to The Post.