Tag: Eric Holder (page 2)

Oregon Sting Suspect's Lawyers Seek Muzzle on Eric Holder

The lawyers for Mohamed Mohamud, the 19 year-old accused of planning to bomb a Christmas tree lighting ceremony in Oregon following a long FBI sting investigation, have filed a motion asking the court to order Attorney General Eric Holder to cease making prejudicial public comments about the case.

In defending the sting against allegations of entrapment, Holder has said:

"Those who characterize the FBI's activities in this case as 'entrapment' simply do not have their facts straight -- or do not have a full understanding of the law," Holder said to the group Muslim Advocates at its annual dinner.

Mohamud's lawyers point out Holder's comments violate the Code of Federal Regulations, the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct and their client's 5th and 6th Amendment rights. From the motion, available on PACER: [More...]

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AG Eric Holder: "I Am Not Tone Deaf"

CBS News interviews Eric Holder about criticism during his tenure as Attorney General and his decision to try the 9/11 Defendants in federal court.

"No, I'm not tone-deaf. But I understand what the nature of being Attorney General is. I don't have the same latitude that other politicians might have, to put my finger up to the wind and figure out what's going to be popular. So it's not tone deafness. It's a commitment to justice and a commitment to the law. It is not tone deafness," Holder said. "I think that is a criticism that is fundamentally unfair and political in nature," he added.

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AG Holder Expresses Commitment to New Crime Fighting Policy

Speaking in New Orleans this week, Attorney General Eric Holder said it's time to "turn the page" on our approach to crime and expressed commitment to re-entry programs.

...we can’t simply arrest our way out of the problem of violent crime. Of course, incarceration is necessary for public safety. But it’s only partially responsible for the declining crime rates we’ve seen. It’s not a sole, economically sustainable, solution.

Over the last few decades, state spending on corrections has risen faster than nearly any other budget item. Yet, at a cost of $60 billion a year, our prisons and jails do little to prepare prisoners to get jobs and “go straight” after they’re released. People who have been incarcerated are often barred from housing, shunned by potential employers and surrounded by others in similar circumstances. This is a recipe for high recidivism. And it’s the reason that two-thirds of those released are rearrested within three years. It’s time for a new approach.


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Holder Supersedes Ashcroft Sentencing Directive

Via Sentencing Law and Policy, Attorney General Eric Holder has issued a new directive to prosecutors on federal sentencing. You can read it here.

Ashcroft's sentencing memo, "Department Policy Concerning Charging Criminal Offenses, Disposition of Charges, and Sentencings" directed prosecutors to charge the most serious provable offense. I posted it here back in 2003. Former Deputy AG James Comey's January 28, 2005 sentencing directive is here. Professor Berman says of today's Holder memo:

Distilled to its essence, it seems that instead of a general policy that federal prosecutors "must" charge and pursue the most serious offense and must advocate a within-guideline sentence, this new Holder memo now asserts that federal prosecutors "ordinarily should" charge and pursue the most serious offense and "should generally" continue to advocate a within-guideline sentence. In other words, in appears that this new Holder memo is a fairly subtle change in policy, but that subtle change may still prove to be very consequential in practice.

I think the memo is a welcome change. [More....]

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AG Eric Holder: No Decision Yet on 9/11 Trial Forum or Venue

Attorney General Eric Holder testified today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. He said no final decision has been made on where to try the 9/11 detainees. They have not ruled out New York and a decision is weeks away.

As to closing Guantanamo, Holder said it's still on the agenda but the plan cannot move forward until Congress approves funding to purchase Thomson Correctional Center in Illinois.

Here is Holder's opening statement. He also addressed the powder-cocaine disparity and confirmation lag for nominated U.S. Attorneys: [More...]

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Republicans Attack Holder Over Detainee Amicus Briefs

Don't Republicans have anything better to do? Now they are attacking Attorney General Eric Holder because he didn't disclose during his Senate confirmation hearings that he signed onto three Amicus briefs for Jose Padilla, the accused enemy combatant held for 3 1/2 years in a military brig, without access to counsel, before charges were filed.

“The briefs should have been disclosed as part of the confirmation process,” said Matthew Miller, a Justice Department spokesman. “In preparing thousands of pages for submission, it was unfortunately and inadvertently missed. In any event, the attorney general has publicly discussed his positions on detention policy on many occasions, including at his confirmation hearing.”

The briefs challenged then-President Bush's authority to indefinitely detain enemy combatents. They were filed in the Jose Padilla case. Links to them below: [More...]

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Hypocritical Prosecution for War-Crimes in Miami

From the Guardian...

The American-born son of former Liberian dictator Charles Taylor has been ordered to pay more than £14m in compensation to five people tortured during the West African country's civil war.

A judge in the US made the order a year after the same Miami court sentenced Charles McArthur Emmanuel Taylor, known as Chuckie, to 97 years in prison for his role in one of Africa's bloodiest chapters; he was the first person to be convicted by a federal court of committing offences outside the US.

The 32-year-old led the notorious Anti-Terrorist Unit, a band of pro-government paramilitaries nicknamed the Demon Forces who carried out murder and torture during his father's presidency from 1997 to 2003.

Witnesses at his criminal trial in 2008 spoke of hearing him laugh as prisoners were abused and how the Anti-Terrorist Unit "did things like beating people to death, burying them alive, rape - the most horrible kind of war crimes".

A spokesman for United States immigration and customs enforcement said that it was a "clear message the US would not be a safe haven for human rights violators."

The US isn't a safe haven for war-criminals?


Remember these fine words from Barack Obama?

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.

And Eric Holder...

In releasing these memos, it is our intention to assure those who carried out their duties relying in good faith upon legal advice from the Department of Justice that they will not be subject to prosecution.

The torture memos from Bybee and Yoo cover everybody else, and Bybee and Yoo aren't guilty either! It was just a "bad judgement!"


Everybody walks! Nobody goes to jail!

So forget about the "clear message the US would not be a safe haven for human rights violators."

The real message for the torturers of tomorrow is...

Get some wh*re of lawyer (like John Yoo) in your local DOJ to opine that whatever you do is legal, and then you can chop up your victims with no more fear of prosecution than if you were chopping onions.

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Former Bush DOJ Officials Back Holder on Trial of 9/11 Suspects

James Comey and Jack Goldsmith, high-ranking Department of Justice officials under Bush, have an op-ed in the Washington Post defending Attorney General Eric Holder's decision to prosecute Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and four other detainees in federal criminal court instead of a military commission proceeding. The conclusion is fine:

But Holder's critics do not help their case by understating the criminal justice system's capacities, overstating the military system's virtues and bumper-stickering a reasonable decision.

In reaching that correct assessment, however, there's a few statements I take issue with. They posit that Holder made the decision to keep the U.S.S. Cole detainees in a military proceeding not for the reasons he said (that the attack happened outside the U.S.) but because the case against them is weak and the chance of conviction is greater in a military commission trial. In other words, Holder forum-shopped (as, they say, Bush's DOJ did before him) and there's nothing wrong with that. I think when it's done hoping to skirt the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt because you know you can't meet it, there's definitely something wrong with it.

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DOJ to Limit Criminal Investigations of CIA Abuses

Attorney General Eric Holder took months to decide on whether to investigate any cases of abuse of detainees overseas with an eye towards criminal prosecution. He got a lot of praise (and in some venues, criticism) when he announced he'd consider it. The Washington Post reports the number of cases the DOJ may prosecute is down from more than a dozen to just a few .

A senior official who took part in the review confirmed that of two dozen referrals, the Salt Pit episode was one of two or three cases close to being considered for criminal indictment.


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AG Holder: Prisons Not the Answer

Attorney General Eric Holder gave a speech today at the American Bar Association convention. He acknowledged we cannot jail ourselves out of our crime problems.

“We will not focus exclusively on incarceration as the most effective means of protecting public safety,” Holder told the American Bar Association delegates meeting here for their annual convention. “Since 2003, spending on incarceration has continued to rise, but crime rates have flattened.”

“Today, one out of every 100 adults in America is incarcerated — the highest incarceration rate in the world,” he said. But the country has reached a point of diminishing returns at which putting even greater percentages of America’s citizens behind bars won’t cut the crime rate.

Prison terms result in increased recidivism. And, he said, drug treatment works: [More...]

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Newsweek: AG May Probe Bush Torture-Era Policies

Newsweek has a long feature article on Attorney General Eric Holder.

Four knowledgeable sources tell NEWSWEEK that he is now leaning toward appointing a prosecutor to investigate the Bush administration's brutal interrogation practices, something the president has been reluctant to do. While no final decision has been made, an announcement could come in a matter of weeks, say these sources, who decline to be identified discussing a sensitive law-enforcement matter.


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Eric Holder Confirmed as Attorney General

It's official. Eric Holder is our Attorney General, having been confirmed by a vote of 75 to 21. All 21 were Republicans.

As I wrote earlier today, I'm not expecting much positive change in our criminal justice system. But, if there are any, I'll be glad to report on them and thank both President Obama and Attorney General Holder.

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