Wednesday, November 2, 2011
The Department of Justice last week issued an exoneration. The falsely accused, however, was not a criminal defendant, but the DOJ itself. Specifically, the DOJ Office of the Inspector General publicly disavowed its criticism, discussed briefly here, that at a hotel conference the Department spent $16 for each breakfast muffin. Rather, the IG now admitted, the $16 cost included fruit, coffee, juice, taxes and gratuities, and (as suggested in the earlier blog) was part of a package deal with the hotel which included "free" use of meeting rooms.
The DOJ Office of the Inspector General should play an important role in reviewing the conduct of federal prosecutors, not the cost of refreshments. It would be a more useful use of its resources to investigate accusations of prosecutorial misconduct, such as those made by Kevin Ring and discussed here last week. The DOJ's own internal reviews are viewed by most defense lawyers and some judges as overly protective. Of course, such reviews should be done less carelessly than the IG report on the "muffin scandal."