Legal Experts Sound Alarm About DoJ Abuses

By Andrew Kreig
Sentinel Radio

Legal experts are sounding the alarm about abuses at the Department of Justice.

In 1806, the Connecticut Courant alleged that President Jefferson was wasting money by buying western Florida from Spain. The Federalist criticism of the Democratic president led to seditious libel convictions and prison terms for the newspaper’s publishers, who’d led the paper since it was America’s largest patriotic voice advocating for freedom during the Revolution.

In 1812, the Supreme Court overturned the convictions by holding that common law could not provide the basis for a federal crime. The ruling required the government to alert the public by statutes before filing serious charges.

But that tradition has eroded enormously, creating fears now extending from Main Street to Wall Street.

Attacks on the fairness of Justice Department’s prosecutions large and small are buttressed by two important new books featured at a Cato Institute forum and congressional testimony last week. Introduced by Washington Times columnist Tony Blankley, the speakers make the case that both parties have arrogantly empowered federal prosecutors to use vague laws to target individuals in “creative” or other arbitrary ways with harsh penalities.

“Even then, which is by comparison a more innocent time,” he says, “I was shocked that the power that we had and the ease of abusing it and the system that was slowly getting out of control — so that even if you had good faith, even if you intended to be an honorable prosecutor, the very process by which you exercised discretion, the increasing ambiguity of the law, it was harder and harder for people to know what they were supposed to do.”

He continued:

“The criminal law used to be a series of oak trees that reached up to the sky, and you would see them and behold them and contemplate upon it. And they were usually descriptions of the 10 Commandments: Don’t kill, don’t rape, don’t kill, don’t give false witness.”

“Now the law is like the blades of grass in a meadow: You can’t see them, you don’t identify with them, and yet they have poisonous tips and if you just innocently walk along the field you can end up poisoned, legally poisoned, put in a cage — and you never knew that it was a crime. How can you be guilty of something if you never knew that it was a crime? And yet increasingly as we’ve criminalized what is really non-criminal activity, whether it’s regulation, whether it’s administration.”

The book In the Name of Justice illustrates these points.

Read the rest of the article here.

Comments are closed.