Eric Holder Backs More Discretion For Judges Over Drug Crime Sentencing

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WASHINGTON, DC - SEPTEMBER 30: U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on September 30, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Kris Connor/Getty Images) | Kris Connor via Getty Images

WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is backing a bill to give federal judges more discretion over sentencing for some drug crimes.

Holder says the bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act would also let some people sentenced under outdated laws petition to reduce their sentences. The attorney general's comments are in a video being posted on the Justice Department's website.

Holder began calling last summer for major changes to the criminal justice system. He wants to scale back harsh prison sentences for some drug-related crimes and divert people convicted of low-level offenses to drug treatment and community service programs.

The bill's sponsors are Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois and Republican Sen. Mike Lee of Utah. Holder says their bill advances the goals of his Smart on Crime initiative.

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