By Associated Press - Sunday, September 13, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - A state attorney in North Florida is now requiring her prosecutors to seek longer prison sentences for felons arrested for illegally carrying guns.

With homicides continuing to climb in Jacksonville, State Attorney Melissa Nelson announced the new policy to her staff on Aug. 31, according to the Times-Union. The policy requires that based on defendants’ criminal backgrounds, prosecutors must seek 10 years, five years or three years in prison.

To waive a mandatory minimum sentence, prosecutors must get approval a higher-up.

The memo, which the Times-Union obtained recently, explained the new policy.

It creates three categories for those arrested for possessing a firearm with a felony conviction.

Prosecutors must offer a minimum of at least 10 years in prison to those with a past conviction for one of 16 possible offenses ranging from murder to resisting an officer with violence, if that person was released from prison within three years or convicted within five years. For those whose convictions were longer ago or who have firearm convictions in the last five years, prosecutors must offer at least five years in prison. For others, prosecutors must offer three years in prison.

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