February 4, 2007
Where Have All the U.S. Attorneys Gone?
Noted here and here are the recent departures of two U.S. Attorneys. Also discussed is the appointment of a new U.S. Attorney and the motion filed contesting this appointment on the basis that the appointment was never submitted to the Senate for its "advice and consent," and only the President has the power to make such an appointment - not the Attorney General. (see Attorney John Wesley Hall's Motion here).
The Washington Post reports here of the growing trend to create vacancies and appoint new U.S. Attorneys. These recent "firings" raise questions as to whether U.S. Attorneys can operate as true "ministers of justice." They should not be influenced by political considerations, they should be allowed to take the "tougher" cases even when it might drive the statistics down, and "win-loss" records should not be a consideration in whether they are properly doing their job. They have a higher mission than just seeking convictions.
White collar cases can often be more difficult and taking these more difficult cases may serve as a detriment to the statistics of a U.S. Attorney. This is especially true with respect to new technology cases like those of identity theft and computer crimes. Although there is no claim that the recent happenings in U.S. Attorney Offices related to a drop in statistics, it is important to remind everyone of the important role served by these public servants. One has to hope that the recent pressure on U.S. Attorneys will not deter these individuals from continuing to pursue their justice mission.
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