Tag: Eric Holder

Loretta Lynch Confirmed as Attorney General

Congress finally confirmed Loretta Lynch as Attorney General. Sally Yates, nominated by Obama in December for the Deputy AG slot was also confirmed. Lynch is expected to be sworn in on Monday.

Unfortunately, Lynch does not share Eric Holder's views on marijuana legalization.

She told the Senate that she did not support legalization and did not agree with Mr. Obama that marijuana may not be more dangerous than alcohol.

And she supports the Patriot Act, which once again is coming up for renewal.

It remains to be seen whether she withdraws any of Holder's positive changes to DOJ policy. [More...]

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Eric Holder Resigns, Continues Progressive Reforms

Attorney General Eric Holder is resigning. But he is still initiating long overdue policies that have immediate welcome effect.

Yesterday he issued a memo to U.S. attorneys telling them not to use recidivist charges (called 851 charges after the statute number) as a leverage tool or a hammer:

Holder sent a memo to U.S. attorneys Wednesday urging them not to use sentencing enhancements known as "851" tools to gain leverage in plea negotiations with defendants — in essence, threatening defendants into avoiding trial with huge amounts of prison time.

He is also in the process of issuing a memo telling prosecutors not to put appeal waivers for ineffective assistance of counsel in plea agreements (something many districts have banned as unconstitutional). He will issue new racial profiling guidelines that "will make clear that sexual orientation, ethnicity and religion are not legitimate bases for law enforcement." suspicion.


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AG Eric Holder Addresses Criminal Defense Bar

Attorney General Eric Holder was the featured speaker yesterday at the annual meeting of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL) in Philadelphia. The primary topic: Federal sentencing. He also addressed indigent defense, the role of defense lawyers, and the need to act in good faith in discovery matters.

Every day, in courtrooms from coast to coast, criminal defense attorneys take on cases that are fraught with difficulty and often controversy – because you understand that, for our criminal justice system to function at all, every accused individual must have effective representation. And every defendant’s right to due process must be guaranteed.

The full text of his remarks is here.

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Eric Holder: Changes in Mandatory Minimum Charging

Attorney General Eric Holder will announce a sea change in policy at the Justice Department this morning in his speech to the American Bar Association in San Francisco. I hope he gets a standing ovation.

“I have mandated a modification of the Justice Department’s charging policies so that certain low-level, nonviolent drug offenders who have no ties to large-scale organizations, gangs, or cartels will no longer be charged with offenses that impose draconian mandatory minimum sentences,”

Since we have had a do-nothing Congress on mandatory minimums since they were enacted in Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 under President Reagan --27 years -- Holder is going to effect change through prosecutorial discretion. Why?

[Mandatory minimum sentences] "breed disrespect for the system. When applied indiscriminately, they do not serve public safety. They have had a disabling effect on communities. And they are ultimately counterproductive."


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The Increasing Heat on Eric Holder

There are many predictable calls for Attorney General Eric Holder's resignation. Until the recent disclosure of mass and indiscriminate electronic surveillance of telecom records, most have been partisan attacks. There are signs that is changing.

Will Eric Holder resign? Matthew Cooper, writing in The Atlantic, has an interesting article today, What Happened to Eric Holder? It chronicles his career, past and current, and makes this observation:

Holder was never going to stay through both terms. (Reno is the only attorney general in the country's history to stay that long.) And they say he'll be gone when Susan Rice and Samantha Power get settled in with John Kerry and Chuck Hagel and after James Comey is confirmed as the new FBI Director.


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Holder Defends Aaron Swartz Prosecution

During today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Department of Justice Oversight, Attorney General Eric Holder defended the prosecution of Aaron Swartz. He said prosecutors offered him a three month sentence and later said they would seek six months. He said the charges carried a potential of 35 years in prison.

What about the overcharging? Any prosecutor can overcharge and then offer you a deal to what you should have been charged with in the first place. What kind of deal is that?

Holder said DOJ has examined the matter and determined the prosecutors acted appropriately. Their examination included talking to the prosecutors. Did they talk to defense counsel? [More...]

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Eric Holder Cleared in OIG Report on Fast and Furious

The Office of Inspector General released a 451 page report today on Fast and Furious. It specifically clears Attorney General Eric Holder of wrongdoing.

We determined that Attorney General Holder did not learn about Operation Fast and Furious until late January or early February 2011 and was not aware of allegations of “gun walking” in the investigation until February. We found no evidence that Department or ATF staff informed the Attorney General about Operation Wide Receiver or Operation Fast and Furious prior to 2011. We concluded that the Attorney General’s Deputy Chief of Staff, the Acting Deputy Attorney General, and the leadership of the Criminal Division failed to alert the Attorney General to significant information about or flaws in those investigations.

Holder's public statement on the report is here.

Some others didn't fare so well. [More....]

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Eric Holder on Contempt Vote: I'm Getting Back to Work, Republicans Should Too

Update: Via Politico: Holder's hanging tough. He issued this statement (video here):
[The vote to hold him in contempt] "may make for good political theater in the minds of some, but it is - at base - both a crass effort and a grave disservice to the American people."

"Whatever the path that this matter will now follow, it will not distract me or the men and women of the Department of Justice from the important tasks that are our responsibility," Holder said. "A great deal of work for the American people remains to be done - I'm getting back to it. I suggest that those who orchestrated today's vote do the same."

The House has approved a civil contempt of Congress resolution against Holder. The vote was 258-95. Earlier, via Politico:

The House has voted to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress, the latest fallout from the "Fast and Furious" scandal. The vote was 255-67, with 17 Democrats joining the majority Republicans in voting yes.

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Obama Asserts Executive Privilege: Holder Held in Contempt

Update: Holder was held in contempt. It's meaningless:

The contempt resolution will have little practical effect on Holder or the Obama administration. The Democratic-controlled Senate will not take action on a contempt resolution.
Here's part of Holder's statement calling Issa's action political "election-year tactic intended to distract attention": [More...]

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Holder Rips Disrespectul Republicans

I wrote yesterday that as I tuned in to the end of the Fast and Furious hearing yesterday, Attorney General Eric Holder was castigating some Republican who had just questioned him, calling the Republican disrespectful.

Here's the text of Holder's comments in response to some of the questions. Holder isn't the only one who should be disgusted by these Republicans. Everyone should be. Good for Holder for showing some backbone and ripping into them: [More...]

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House Committee Issues "Fast and Furious" Subpoena to AG Holder

Here's the subpoena the House Oversight Committee issued to Attorney General Eric Holder over "Fast and Furious."

Purely Republican grandstanding. Holder is right to downplay it.

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House Comm. to Subpoena Holder Over "Fast and Furious"

Republican Rep. Darrell Issa, chair of the House Oversight Committee, said today the committee will subpoena Eric Holder over the ATF's Fast and Furious program.

This is typical Republican grandstanding. If we're going to complain about Holder, let's discuss the targeting of medical marijuana businesses or the policy on targeted killings of U.S. citizens, not guns that ended up in Mexico.

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