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Tag: Attorney General

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.

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.

Senators Call for Inspector General Investigation of Ethics Infractions by Justice Department

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

A new report shows that Justice Department lawyers committed hundreds of ethics infractions ranging from recklessness to misconduct.

Now a bipartisan group of senators is supporting a bill that would empower the inspector general to conduct an investigation, NPR reports.

The senators want to bypass the traditional route – using the Office of Professional Responsibility, which reports to the Attorney General and has been criticized for being too secretive.

“Current law invites undue influence from the Attorney General’s office into the process and should be changed to ensure the integrity of investigations of misconduct within the Justice Department,” Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said in a prepared statement.

The bill would give the inspect general limitless jurisdiction.

Some of the cases involve intentionally misleading courts.

Attorney General Holder to Announce Reductions in Drug Sentences Today

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com 

Saying too many Americans are spending an excessive amount of time behind bars for drugs, the Justice Department is expected to announce a proposal today that would reduce some sentences and relieve overcrowded prisons, Reuters reports.

Attorney General Eric Holder is scheduled to deliver the speech at 9 a.m.

The change would impact about 70% of future drug trafficking defendants.

“Certain types of cases result in too many Americans going to prison for far too long, and at times for no truly good public safety reason,” Holder will tell the commission, according to an excerpt of his speech released ahead of time by the Justice Department.

According to a Justice Department estimate, the average sentence for federal drug offenders would decline from 62 months to 51 months.

AG Holder’s Budget Reflects Desire for Criminal Justice, Prison Reforms

Atty. Gen. Eric Holder Jr.

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Eric Holder’s proposed $27.4 billion budget places a priority on criminal justice and prison reform, the Washington Post reports.

The budget reflects Holder’s initiative to reduce the number of low-level drug offenders and crack down on recidivism rates with expanded drug treatment programs.

About $173 million is earmarked for criminal justice reform.

“Each dollar spent on prevention and reentry has the potential to save several dollars in incarceration costs,” Holder said in a statement.

“These wise investments can help make our criminal justice system more effective and efficient.”

Dogged by Controversy During First Term, Attorney General Holder Hits Ground Running in Second Term

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

After four years of attacks and controversies, Attorney General appears to be finally settling in during his second term under President Obama.

The Los Angeles Times reports that Holder “has tackled his responsibilities with newfound energy and determination, surprising critics and supporters alike by striking out on a broad, ambitious and unapologetically liberal agenda.”

Here’s what he’s done: shortened prison sentences, pursued mega-banks for fraud and plans to ban federal agents from basing investigations on discriminatory practices.

“I am focusing on issues — really focusing on issues — in these last few weeks that have been near and dear to me for as long as I’ve been a lawyer,” Holder said in an interview. “This whole notion of criminal justice reform, civil rights enforcement — all these are the kinds of things that animated me and that made me want to become a lawyer in the first place.”

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