Wednesday, April 1, 2009
AG Eric Holder sets the tone for this new DOJ (see here) in his DOJ Press Release which states, "After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial."
This dismissal is monumental in terms of sending a message that this justice department will be very different. Many years ago a group of AG's signed an amicus brief in the case of Gideon v. Wainwright advocating for the defendant. They wanted a fair fight in court, and recognized the importance of the right to counsel to achieving justice.What happened today is on par with what happened back then. It is a recognition that prosecutors are not merely advocates, but rather "ministers of justice." Today an Attorney General took the side of justice.
What Others Are Saying:
Ashby Jones, Breaking News: Gov. to Drop All Charges Against Ted Stevens, WSJ Blog here
Doug Berman, Sentencing Law & Policy here
Neil A. Lewis, N.Y. Times,U.S. to Drop Case Against Ex-Senator From Alaska
Erika Bolstad & Richard Mauer, Anchorage Daily News, Attorney general drops Stevens prosecution