The US Attorneys' Offices are the flagships of the federal government's law-enforcement work. But as the Department of Justice (DOJ) approaches its 150th anniversary, there are deep concerns for their future. The four years of the Trump Administration have shaken public confidence in DOJ, and during his tenure, Attorney General William Barr all too often took on the role of the President's lawyer rather than upholding the integrity and credibility of line prosecutors to work free from political interference. This Essay, written in the weeks leading up to the 2020 presidential election, argues that, in a new administration, there must be a hardcore realignment of cultural values inside of the Justice Department that supports its independence and permits line prosecutors to effectively resist and reject political interference in criminal matters. The past four years have revealed frailty in the Department that requires more than the new laws and new policies that will be designed to shore up some of the weaknesses that have been revealed. Ultimately, even with those new laws and policies, there must be a culture restoration that guarantees they will be implemented effectively so that the independence of prosecutions from political influence, which is critical to our criminal-justice system, is firmly in place.
Treat Every Defendant Equally and Fairly: Political Interference and the Challenges Facing the U.S. Attorneys' Offices as the Justice Department Turns 150 Years Old,
Yale L.J. F.
Available at: https://scholarship.law.ua.edu/fac_essays/220