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Tag: Eric Holder

Prosecutors Change Their Tune on Deterrence Involving Corporate Wrongdoing

FBI Director James Comey

By DEVLIN BARRETT and KIRSTEN GRIND 
Wall Street Journal

WASHINGTON—In extracting multibillion-dollar fines from Citigroup Inc. and other big banks, prosecutors say they are trying to deter future corporate wrongdoing by making shareholders angry enough to demand changes.

It is a significant shift in tone for the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation, which have argued for years that sending people to prison is the best way to prevent white-collar crime.

In the past month, top officials including FBI Director James Comey and Attorney General Eric Holder said future corporate misdeeds can be avoided by imposing large or record-breaking penalties on companies. On Wednesday, Associate Attorney General Tony West said one factor the Justice Department considers in imposing stiff penalties is whether the fine “could be regarded by shareholders and management as merely the cost of doing business.”

To read more click here.

Attorney General Holder Urge Global Allies to Adopt Anti-Terrorism Tacts Used by FBI

attorney general/doj file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Calling the Syrian conflict a “global crisis in need of a global solution,” Attorney General Eric Holder urged U.S. allies to use tactics employed by the FBI to root out extremists before they strike, Huffington Post reports.

Speaking to Norwegian officials in Oslo, Holder suggested that other countries adopt pre-emptive counterterrorism tactics that include enticing suspects into developing terrorist attacks.

The idea is to stop homegrown terrorists before they travel to Syria.

“If we wait for our nations’ citizens to travel to Syria, to become radicalized, and to return home, it may be too late to adequately protect our national security,” Holder said.

Holder lauded the FBI’s role in cracking down on terrorism.

“We have found undercover operations -– which the Federal Bureau of Investigation pioneered in fighting transnational organized crime -– to be essential in fighting terrorism as well,” Holder said in the speech. “In the United States, the FBI has already conducted undercover operations that have identified individuals with intentions to travel to Syria. These operations are conducted with extraordinary care and precision, ensuring that law enforcement officials are accountable for the steps they take -– and that suspects are neither entrapped nor denied legal protections.”

AG Holder: New Recording Policy Intended to Protect Suspects and Federal Law Enforcement

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new policy to require federal agents to electronically record statements while suspects are in custody is intended to protect both suspects and law enforcement, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a video posted by the Justice Department Thursday.

“Federal agents and prosecutors throughout the nation are firmly committed to due process in their rigorous and evenhanded enforcement of the law,” Holder said. “This new recording policy not only reaffirms our steadfast commitment to these ideals – it will provide verifiable evidence that our words are matched by our deeds. And it will help to strengthen the robust and fair system of justice upon which all Americans depend — and which every American deserves.”

The policy, which has exceptions and goes into effect July 11, applies to the FBI, ATF, DEA and U.S. Marshals Services.

The new policy “will ensure that we have an objective account of key investigations and interactions with people who are held in federal custody” and “allow us to document that detained individuals are afforded their constitutionally protected rights,” Holder said.

Feds Expected to Announce First-of-Its-Kind Prosecution Involving Cyber-Espionage Case

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Federal law enforcement officials are expected to announce criminal charges today in an international cyber-espionage case.

Details were murky this morning, but the Associated Press reports that Attorney General Eric Holder planned to reveal new indictments against people suspected of cyber-espionage on behalf of a foreign government.

The target wasn’t clear early this morning, but one official said it will be a first-of-its-kind prosecution.

The Obama administration has expressed an urgency in going after cyber threats.

Drug Policy Alliance: DEA Chief Michele Leonhart Should Resign Over Defiance

Michele Leonhart

By Bill Piper
Director of National Affairs for Drug Policy Alliance

For months Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Administrator Michele Leonhart has openly rebuked the drug policy reform policies of Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama with one embarrassing statement after another. Now she is picking a fight with Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Y) and other members of Congress over hemp. Meanwhile the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector General has launched an investigation into multiple scandals plaguing the agency. It is clear that Leonhart lacks the ability to lead and should resign. Activists are using the Twitter hashtag #FireLeonhart.

The DEA created a political firestorm this week when it seized seeds bound for a Kentucky hemp research program that was approved by Congress. Even Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has weighed in, telling Politico last night, “It is an outrage that DEA is using finite taxpayer dollars to impound legal industrial hemp seeds.” The Kentucky Agriculture Department is suing the agency. The seizure is the latest misstep by the agency, which is being investigated by the Department of Justice for numerous scandals.

Earlier this month the Department of Justice’s Office of the Inspector Generallaunched investigations into numerous DEA scandals, including the massacre of civilians in Honduras, the use of NSA data to both spy on virtually all Americans and to systematically fabricate evidence, controversial uses of confidential informants, airline passenger searches, and sexual misconduct. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart herself has been at the center of several scandals, including the House of Death scandal in which the DEA may have turned a blind eye to torture and murder, and the Andrew Chambers scandal, in which the DEA rehired a confidential informant with a history of lying.

Moreover, Leonhart is increasingly publicly opposing drug policy reforms being pursued by her bosses, Attorney General Eric Holder and President Obama, and both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. She publicly rebuked President Obama for admitting that marijuana is as safe as alcohol, told members of Congress that the DEA will continue to go after marijuana even in states where it is legal despite DOJ guidance stating otherwise, and has spoken out against bipartisan drug sentencing reform in Congress that the Obama Administration is supporting.

To read more click here.

DEA Head Fights Against Obama Administration Efforts to Reduce Minimum Sentences for Drug Offenders

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

In her latest defiance of the Obama administration, DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart is unwilling to support a bill to reduce mandatory minimum sentences for federal drug crimes, the Huffington Post reports.

Leonhart has departed with the administration on reforms to drug policies heralded by President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder.

“Having been in law enforcement as an agent for 33 years, [and] a Baltimore City police officer before that, I can tell you that for me and for the agents that work for DEA, mandatory minimums have been very important to our investigations,” Leonhart said. “We depend on those as a way to ensure that the right sentences are going to the … level of violator we are going after.”

Leonhart, who also has spoken out against leniency in pot laws, has been a thorn on the side of reform efforts.

OTHER STORIES OF INTEREST

AG Holder to Young Women, People of Color: ‘Consider Careers’ With Justice Department

attorney general/doj file photo

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

While the Justice Department is more integrated than ever, it still lags behind when it comes to women and people of color, Attorney General Eric Holder said in a speech aimed at young people.

“Consider careers here at at the United States Department of Justice,” Holder said during the speech, speaking to students who were visiting Washington from a Catholic school in San Francisco, according to CNS News.

Holder also urged new immigrants to consider a Justice Department career.

“Now, statistics show that in recent years, women and people of color have made up a greater percentage of both licensed lawyers and law students,” he said. “Progress remains too often slow, and the law continues to lag behind many other fields. So we need to ensure that the coming decades witness an uptick in the numbers of women, people with disabilities, people of color, and new immigrants finding productive avenues into this profession and others across the American workforce.”

Holder said the fact that he and President Obama are black is not an indication that the “long struggle to overcome disparity and discrimination” is over.

“Now, I know it may be tempting — it may be tempting for some, when they look at the accomplished professionals in this room or the lawyer who works in the Oval Office or consider the fact that I have the privilege of serving as the attorney general of the United States, to feel that this country’s long struggle to overcome disparity and discrimination has ended. But as Justice Sonia Sotomayor said just yesterday in her courageous and very personal dissent in the Michigan college admissions case, we ought not, and I quote, ‘wish away rather than confront the racial inequality that exists in our society. The way to stop discrimination on the basis of race is to speak openly and candidly on the subject of race,’ end quote.”

San Francisco Gate: Offering Clemency to Low-Level Drug Offenders Is Long Overdue

By San Francisco Gate
Editorial Board

When Barack Obama ran for the White House in 2008, federal inmates and their families believed that if he won, miracles would follow. They were convinced that the former law professor and critic of federal mandatory minimum sentences would be liberal with his unfettered constitutional power to free low-level and nonviolent offenders sentenced to decades, even life without parole, behind bars.

Then, for the next five years, criminal lawyers and reformers stood around scratching their heads wondering why Obama held the worst pardon record of any modern president. He commuted one sentence in his first term. When Obama was re-elected in 2012, they hoped he would open the gates. In December, a small door opened. The president commuted the sentences of eight crack offenders, all of whom had served at least 15 years.

On Monday, Attorney General Eric Holder made the announcement that promises big change. Holder said the Department of Justice will adopt a “new and improved” approach with a bigger team “committed to recommending as many qualified applicants as possible for reduced sentences.” Expect the new team to seek out nonviolent, low-level drug offenders with clean prison records.

Sam Morison, a former staffer in the pardon attorney’s office, fears the new clemency project will be a “technical exercise that only an expert in the federal sentencing guidelines can appreciate.”
But Mary Price of Families Against Mandatory Minimums is ecstatic. For years, the Justice Department’s Office of Pardon Attorney has served as an “office of no” that rejected cases of clear sentencing overkill.

To read more click here.