President Donald J. Trump signed three executive orders recently which were described by the Trump administration as “designed to restore safety in America,” to “break the back” of cartels and “stop as of today” alleged violence which is occurring against law enforcement officers. The New York Times reported on the executive orders which drew both praise and criticism.
The key questions, however, are what exactly is in the orders and will they have any actual impact on the way in which police do their job or the way in which law enforcement officers address crime? There is already a significant over-incarceration problem within the United States, and more aggressive federal action that gives law enforcement more power could contribute to making this problem worse.
Those who are accused of wrongdoing must know their legal rights, especially in a political climate that prioritizes so-called “law and order,” and anyone who has any involvement with law enforcement should have a New York City federal criminal defense attorney advocating for them and helping to protect their legal interests.
According to the New York Times, the first executive order which was signed by President Trump included a statement of opposition against international criminal cartels. The order also instructed the Threat Mitigation Working Group to review its plans for fighting cartels and to identify ways in which its effectiveness could be improved. The Threat Mitigation Working Group was created in 2011 under President Barack Obama.
The other two executive orders instructed the new attorney general, Jeff Sessions, to coordinate with other federal, state and local law enforcement agencies to develop plans to reduce crime and to prevent violence against law enforcement officers. Sessions was also instructed by President Trump's executive orders to review existing grants that are being made to law enforcement in order to recommend any necessary changes, and to conduct a review of existing laws to propose any modifications that need to be made.
While the actual effect of the orders does not necessarily create a lot of substantive change, one purpose that the orders serve is to help set the tone when it comes to criminal justice. The orders emphasize and amplify a political message, direct agencies where to focus their energy, and set priorities for action.
It remains to be seen what additional changes will actually come to state and federal law enforcement and anti-crime programs as a result of President Trump and Jeff Session's efforts to fight crime, which has been on a slight uptick in certain cities after a lengthy period in which rates of serious crimes were declining across the United States.
If those efforts to reduce criminal actions include toughening enforcement or cracking down on certain types of criminal offenses, this could result in a climate where more people face harsher penalties and more stringent investigations.
Defendants must know what their legal rights are and should be certain to contact The Law Office of James E. Tyner, PLLC as soon as they find themselves under investigation for a criminal offense.