Holder cautions against use of data in sentencing


WASHINGTON (AP) — Attorney General Eric Holder is worried about fairness in sentencing.

Holder says he's concerned about judges relying too heavily on data when they sentence criminal defendants. He says judges in several states have begun factoring in "risk assessments," such as a defendant's education or socioeconomic background.

Holder says the use of that data often results in minorities being treated unfairly. He says sentences should reflect actual crimes committed, rather than a prediction of someone's likelihood to commit future crimes.

Holder was appearing in Philadelphia Friday in a speech to criminal defense lawyers.

The speech was intended to mark the one-year anniversary of Holder's "Smart on Crime" initiative, in which he instructed federal prosecutors to stop charging many nonviolent drug defendants with offenses that carry mandatory minimum sentences.

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