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Tag: Attorney General

Senate Confirmation Hearings Begin Today for Loretta Lynch for Attorney General

By Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch faces questions Wednesday as Senate confirmation hearings begin for her nomination for Attorney General.

It will be the first Republican-lead confirmation session of the Obama administration, the NBC affiliate in New York points out.

Lynch, who is considered a very able U.S. Attorney, has gotten praise from both sides of the political aisle and is expected to get confirmed. She would replace Eric Holder.

To read more click here. 

FBI Finishes Investigation of Ferguson Police Shooting That Killed Unarmed Michael Brown

Michael Brown

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

The FBI has wrapped up its long-anticipated investigation into the police shooting of unarmed Michael Brown in Ferguson, a U.S. official told the Associated Press.

It’s not yet clear whether the Justice Department will pursue a federal civil rights case against former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. But legal experts and government officials agree that it’s unlikely that charges will be filed because of the incredibly difficult legal standard.

The New York Times reported that Justice Department lawyers plan to recommend against prosecuting Wilson, but that Attorney General Eric H. Holder has not yet made up his mind.

A grand jury cleared Wilson in the Aug. 9 death of Brown, setting off protests nationwide.

AG Eric Holder Expands Protections for Media, Sets New Standards

Eric Holder

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Prosecutors will have a more difficult time receiving subpoenas or search warrants for reporters under new protections for journalists announced Wednesday by Attorney General Eric Holder. 

McClatchy reports that prosecutors will be required to meet with the department’s Policy and Statutory Enforcement Unit before seeking court permission to take actions against members of the media working on “newsgathering activities.”

The protections include removing the word “ordinary” from the phrase “newsgathering activities.”

“These revised guidelines strike an appropriate balance between law enforcement’s need to protect the American people, and the news media’s role in ensuring the free flow of information,” Holder said.

Members of the media applauded the move.

“We are pleased that the new guidelines protect ‘newsgathering activities’ without qualification whenever the government seeks information related to a journalist’s work reporting and disseminating the news,” declared Bruce D. Brown, executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.

Obama Administration to Ban Racial Profiling Among Federal Law Enforcement

Atty. Gen. Holder/doj file photo

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

In an effort to curb racial profiling, the Obama administration plans today to announce new rules for federal law enforcement, the Washington Post reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. wants to prevent federal officials from using gender, race, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity to open cases. The plan also calls for ending racial profiling from national security cases.

But the new rules won’t cover local governments unless they are working with federal task forces.

Protests have sprung up nationwide following grand jury decisions not to indict two white cops who killed Eric Garner in New York City and Michael Brown in Ferguson, both of whom were young and unarmed.

“At this historic moment in our nation’s race relations, the release of this revised guidance is an important signal of progress, but it does not completely address the need for reform of policing tactics at the state and local level,” said Laura W. Murphy, director of the American Civil Liberty Union’s Washington Legislative Office.

 

Justice Department Issues Scathing Report of Cleveland Police Department’s Abusive Practices

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

A federal examination of the practices and procedures by the Cleveland Police Department prompted the Justice Department to deliver a scatting review of the department with a mandate for sweeping changes, the Cleveland Plain Dealer reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder based the findings on a civil rights investigation that involved nearly 600 use-of-force incidents from 2010 to 2013.

Among the problems found were insufficient accountability, ineffective policies and inadequate training.

The 58-page report found that police have shot at suspects without justifiable case, beat people who were in handcuffs and covered up abuse by writing false reports.

“The reality is that there are problems,” Holder said. “But I also think the people of Cleveland should have a sense of hope … that these problems have been identified and that they can be rectified.”

Opinion: Loretta Lynch Is Experienced, Skilled & Ready to Lead Justice Department

By Democrat & Chronicle
Editorial Board
 
After the shellacking that President Obama took in last week’s midterm elections, the last thing he needs is another fight. That’s why he was wise to nominate Loretta Lynch as the nation’s next attorney general.

The Senate, which switches to Republican control starting in January, should have little difficulty confirming Lynch, who has a track record of being a top-notch federal prosecutor.

And because Lynch has been given Senate clearance twice in recent decades to serve as U.S. Attorney for the Brooklyn-based Eastern District, and was found to be apolitical for the most part, she should be confirmed before year’s end.

Otherwise, there could be a protracted confirmation process next year that, no doubt, could have much more to do with GOP disdain for retiring Attorney General Eric Holder than Lynch.

Obama, cognizant of how disliked Holder is among Republicans, chose in Lynch someone who, unlike his current attorney general, is not close to him. Rather, the Harvard Law School graduate’s record of accomplishment speaks volumes for her.

The highest profile case Lynch guided was the successful prosecution of New York police officers accused of beating and sodomizing a Haitian immigrant in the late 1990s. But her legal portfolio is wide-ranging, including major cases involving public corruption, terrorism, civil rights, financial fraud and cybercrime.

Some Republicans have expressed concerns about Lynch’s preparedness to leap from being a U.S. attorney to taking over as U.S. attorney general. Yes, it is a considerable jump in scope. But having served as a U.S. attorney both during the Clinton years and the past four under Obama has given Lynch solid executive experience that equips her for the top job.

To read more click here.

Other Stories of Interest

Attorney General Holder Says Ferguson Police Department Needs ‘Wholesale Change’

Courtesy of DOJ

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. called for “wholesale change” in the Ferguson Police Department, the Associated Press reports. 

Holder sad in a question-and-answer session with a newspaper at the Washington Ideas Forum that serious changes are needed.

“I think it’s pretty clear that the need for wholesale change in that department is appropriate.”

But Holder didn’t elaborate or discuss leadership changes at the department.

Holder defended his 2009 remarks that America is a “nation of cowards” when it comes to race, saying the country is “still reluctant to talk about issues of race.

Holder said he hopes his legacy involves improving the country.

“As a person who tried to make the country better and used the power of his office to raise issues that too often were not addressed,” Holder said.

Could Loretta Lynch Become First Black Woman to Become Attorney General? She’s a Top Candidate

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The leading candidate to replace Attorney General Eric Holder appears to be Loretta Lynch, the head prosecutor in Brooklyn, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

The news comes after another top candidate withdrew her name.

Others being considered are General Donald Verrilli and Labor Secretary Thomas Perez, according to the sources.

Lynch, 55, may not be as difficult to gain confirmation because Reuters says she has caused little controversy during her two tenures as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York.

If she’s confirmed, she would become the first black woman to head the Justice Department.

The White House declined to comment.

“We don’t have any personnel updates, and are certainly not going to speculate on any decisions before the president makes them,” White House spokesman Eric Schultz said.