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Lanny Breuer Reportedly Leaving DOJ

DOJ's Criminal Division Chief Lanny Breuer is reportedly stepping down although no formal announcement or departure date has been released. Main Justice writes:

Coincidentally, Breuer’s impending departure comes after “Frontline” broadcast a harshly critical report Tuesday night. The PBS program, entitled “The Untouchables,” was full of assertions that under Breuer the DOJ went after small fish in the mortgage-market abuses that nearly paralyzed the country’s financial system, while the big fish swam free.

If you missed The Untouchables, check it out here. The transcript is here. [More...]

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Number of Federal Prosecutions Rise to Highest Level

A new report shows that federal prosecution of crimes is at an all-time high. The increase is due to the number of immigration-related crimes. The breakdown by agency:

[T]he FBI — which at one time was the premier investigative agency with the largest share of investigations resulting in prosecutions — has now slid to fourth place, accounting for only 8.7 percent of the FY 2009 filings. Leading the pack last year was Customs and Border Protection in the Department of Homeland Security, which includes the Border Patrol, with 46.5 percent of all prosecutions. Coming second was Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) with 12 percent, also in Homeland Security. In third place was the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) which accounted for 9.5 percent of all prosecutions.

So the FBI and DEA together now account for only 18.2% of federal proseuctions. [More...]

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Obama Names 4 DOJ Division Chiefs

President Barack Obama has named four chiefs of the Justice Department.

  • David Kris is assistant AG for national security.
  • Tony West is assistant AG for the Justice Department’s civil division.
  • Lanny Breuer is assistant AG for Justice’s criminal division.
  • Christine Varney is assistant AG for the antitrust division.

It's the criminal division, responsible for prosecuting crimes in our federal courts, that I'm interested in.

Breuer is a partner at the Washington law firm Covington and Burling, where attorney general-nominee Eric Holder also served as partner. He was special counsel to President Clinton and defended Clinton during his impeachment. New York Yankees pitcher Roger Clemens also hired Breuer last year to represent him during Congress’ investigation into the use of performance-enhancing drugs in professional baseball.

White Collar Crime Blog has this to say about Breuer: [More...]

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How Will Obama Reform the Justice Department?

The Washington Post examines how President-Elect Barack Obama may overhaul the Justice Department in an attempt to restore confidence. First, the problem, created by the Bush Administration:

The infusion of politics into the Justice Department and an abdication of responsibility by its leaders have dealt a severe blow," Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.), the panel's ranking Republican, wrote in an opinion piece last month. "Great damage has been done to the credibility and effectiveness of the Justice Department."

Next, the possible solutions and reading the tea leaves on what Obama may do: [More...]

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DOJ Cracks Down on Kiddie Pictures

There's been a reordering of priorities at the Justice Department this year.

Cybercrime, the majority of which involves child pornography, is now the FBI's third-highest priority, behind counterterrorism and counterintelligence.

Those convicted include:

...the former head of the Virginia American Civil Liberties Union, an Ivy League professor, a sheriff's deputy, a Transportation Security Administration employee, an Army sergeant, a former Navy cryptologist, a contractor working at Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, a National Institutes of Health researcher and a U.S. Capitol Police officer.

Some argue it's overkill.

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