Washington, DC (March 14, 2007) – In light of recent revelations regarding the dismissal of U.S. Attorneys by persons in the Attorney General’s office and the White House, President Martin S. Pinales of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers today made the following statement:
“No person in the country wields as much power over the lives and reputations of ordinary citizens than the United States Attorney. NACDL is deeply troubled by revelations that Justice Department and other high officials politicized the most sensitive governmental responsibility: the prosecution function. The appalling lack of candor by some and the Attorney General’s professed ignorance of the purge of U.S. Attorneys in recent months suggest the possibility of criminal falsification and the certainty of alarming incompetence at the highest levels at Justice and the White House. We urge Congress to proceed with an expeditious investigation and urge the Attorney General to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate whether any official has testified falsely in violation of federal perjury and obstruction statutes.
“As concerned as we are about politically-motivated dismissals, we have greater concerns with the chilling effect upon other U.S. Attorneys whose independence was threatened by this unprecedented attempt to commandeer America’s criminal justice system.”
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The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal justice system.