Bookmark and Share

The Department of Justice (DOJ) is a cabinet-level agency responsible for enforcing the laws of the United States federal government. DOJ ensures public safety against foreign and domestic threats, including terrorism, and preventing crime. The department includes such venerable law enforcement agencies as the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), US Marshals, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). DOJ is led by the United States Attorney General, the nation’s top law enforcement official and chief legal adviser to the President. Another top DOJ official is the Solicitor General, who represents the federal government in cases heard before the US Supreme Court. In spite of its mandate to enforce the law, Justice Department officials have been accused at times of bending or breaking the law to suit the political whims of an administration. This has been especially true during the current reign of President George W. Bush, whose attorneys general and solicitors general have been deeply involved with extralegal aspects the Global War on Terrorism campaign.





























The Judiciary Act of 1789 created the Office of the Attorney General (AG) to represent the federal government in cases before the US Supreme Court and to give legal advice to the President and the heads of cabinet-level departments. For most of the 19th century, the AG was the only cabinet official not to preside over an executive department.

The Judiciary Act of 1789 made no provision for a Department of Justice or even for subsidiary officers or clerical staff to assist the attorney general in his duties. As a result of this oversight, the AG’s office struggled in the beginning to keep up with its duties, even though several legislative efforts were made during the 1800s to expand the resources and available staff for the AG.
After several failed attempts to convince Congress to expand the office of the Attorney General, legislation was adopted in 1829. But the measure, led by Senator Daniel Webster, did not bolster the capability of the AG. Instead, it created a Solicitor of the Treasury with authority over all Treasury lawsuits and to provide rules for the district attorneys around the country to follow in regard to all civil litigation in which the United States was a party. Supporters of the AG were not happy with Webster’s legislation and continued over the next several decades to advocate, both in Congress and for a presidential executive order, to give greater legal authority to the Attorney General, including placing the oversight of the district attorneys under the AG.
It was not until 1870 that legislation was adopted that created the Department of Justice under the authority of the AG that finally gave the nation’s top legal officer a full staff to work with. Another important provision of the 1870 legislation was the creation of the Office of Solicitor General, who took over the responsibilities of representing the government in cases before the Supreme Court. From then on out, the AG was required to appear before the court only “in matters of exceptional gravity or importance.”
During the 20th Century, the AG evolved into the public image of the Justice Department, becoming as much a political figure as a legal one. When President John F. Kennedy was elected to the White House in 1960, he appointed his brother, Robert Kennedy, to serve as attorney general. The decision was criticized by Kennedy’s opponents as blatant nepotism. A decade later, President Richard Nixon’s first attorney general, John Mitchell, stepped down to run the president’s 1972 re-election campaign and was later implicated in the infamous Watergate scandal.
During the second term of President Ronald Reagan, Edwin Meese III became one of the most controversial figures of the administration because of his role in the Iran Contra scandal.
The 1990s witnessed the first woman to lead the Justice Department. Janet Reno, who also was the longest serving attorney general in the 20th Century, lasted throughout President Bill Clinton’s eight years in office. During this time period, legal controversies surrounded the Clinton White House, from Whitewater to Monica Lewinsky to impeachment, which required Reno to make difficult decisions as to whether to appoint special prosecutors to investigate claims of illegal or improper behavior by the President.
The current administration of George W. Bush also has pulled the attorney general into controversial matters stemming from the White House’s bypassing legal channels in its efforts to combat terrorist threats against the country (see Controversies).

FBI History: A Time Line


What it Does:



























The Department of Justice (DOJ) enforces federal laws, prevents crime, protects the public’s safety from all threats, including terrorism, and operates the federal prison system. Key figures and agencies that perform these duties include the FBI, DEA, US Marshals, US Attorneys and the Attorney General of the United States. DOJ employs more than 100,000 attorneys, special agents, other law enforcement personnel and various staff.

DOJ Bureaus, Offices and Agencies
The Office of the AGis the lead entity within the Department of Justice that oversees all operations of the department. In addition to leading DOJ, the attorney general is the chief law enforcement officer and lawyer of the US government and a member of the President’s cabinet. The AG is the only cabinet department head who is not given the title of “Secretary.” The Office of the Attorney General supervises and directs the administration and operation of all Department of Justice offices, including the FBI, Drug Enforcement Administration, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, Bureau of Prisons, Office of Justice Programs, the US Attorneys and US Marshals Service, among others. Although the AG post is held by a lawyer, the attorney general is often viewed as much as a political figure as a legal one. Over the years there have been numerous attorneys general who have been lightning rods for controversy. This includes the three men who have served as AG under President George W. Bush and have been involved with the administration’s controversial policies to combat terrorism.
Law Enforcement
The FBI is the federal government’s top law enforcement agency. From investigating organized crime to snooping on would-be terrorists, the FBI carries out critical police activities while enforcing federal laws. The FBI operates 56 field offices in major US cities and more than 400 resident agencies that support the work at field offices. The FBI’s crime-fighting reputation was forged during the era of Prohibition when special agents brought down famed gangsters like John Dillinger. But over time numerous controversies have tarnished the once-legendary operation. The last 10 years have been especially unkind to the FBI as botched police operations and the failure to prevent the 9/11 terrorist attacks have produced a bevy of complaints. Even after making substantial changes to its intelligence gathering operations, the FBI is still under threat of losing some of its authority.
The US Marshals represent the nation’s oldest federal law enforcement agency. Federal marshals have been serving the country since 1789, and today direct the 94 individual federal judicial districts. Among the agency’s duties are apprehension of more than half of all federal fugitives, protection of the federal judiciary, operation of the Witness Security Program, transportation of federal prisoners and seizure of property illegally obtained by criminals. Marshals also have been accused of bending, and in some cases breaking, the law, resulting in numerous controversies.
ATF is a federal law enforcement and regulatory agency with a substantial history in the federal government dating back to the tax-collecting bureaucracy of the 1800s. Historically, the agency has struggled to maintain a balance between its law enforcement duties and its mandate to collect taxes. When the Homeland Security Bill transferred ATF and its law enforcement functions from the Treasury Department to the Justice Department, its former tax and trade responsibilities remained in the Treasury under the new Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau. Accordingly, the new ATF mission aims more at preventing violent crime involving firearms and engaging in other anti-criminal activities. The agency is responsible for investigating and preventing crimes involving the unlawful use, manufacture and possession of firearms and explosives, arson and bombings and illegal trafficking or manufacture of alcohol and tobacco products. As the agency responsible for regulation of the gun industry, ATF’s efforts at gun safety reform and regulation have become the target of vehement attacks from right-wing supporters of gun ownership and commerce rights.
DEA is the leading law enforcement operation in the country for combating the sale and distribution of narcotics and other illegal drugs. DEA enforces federal anti-drug laws, such as the Controlled Substances Act, which pertain to the manufacture, distribution and dispensing of legally produced controlled substances. DEA investigates major violators of controlled substance laws operating at interstate and international levels. Major violators include criminals and drug gangs, both in the US and in foreign countries. As part of its national drug intelligence program, DEA works with federal, state, local and foreign law enforcement officials to collect, analyze and disseminate strategic and operational drug intelligence information. DEA also works with other law enforcement operations through non-enforcement methods such as crop eradication, crop substitution and training of foreign officials. DEA has been in the thick of the national controversy over medical marijuana, serving as the federal government’s enforcer in going after local cannabis clubs that distribute marijuana to individuals suffering from serious illnesses. In addition, its effectiveness in curtailing the use of illegal drugs has been questioned.
Operating under the authority of the DEA, the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force (OCDETF) was formed in 1982 to fight major drug trafficking and money laundering organizations. OCDETF works with the DEA, FBI, Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, US Marshals Service, Internal Revenue Service, US Coast Guard, Department of Justice’s Criminal Division and Tax Division and the 93 US Attorney’s offices to identify, disrupt and dismantle the most serious drug trafficking organizations. These efforts are targeted at decreasing the nation’s drug supply and cutting off financial resources potentially directed to terrorist groups around the world.
OJP is the main administrative body that manages many Justice Department programs and initiatives focusing on crime prevention. These programs provide economic, technological and research assistance to state and local governments, law enforcement programs and criminal justice agencies. OJP oversees 13 bureaus and offices, as well as 21 initiatives that focus on many program areas including Bureau of Justice Assistance; Bureau of Justice Statistics; Community Capacity Development Office; National Institute of Justice; Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention; Office for Victims of Crime; Office for Civil Rights; Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking; as well as programs covering corrections, courts, juvenile justice, law enforcement, research, statistics and evaluation, substance abuse and crime, technology to fight crime, terrorism and domestic preparedness and victims of crime.
COPS promotes a community-based approach to law enforcement that encourages preventing crime rather than responding once crime has been committed. Created during the Clinton administration in response to a series of violent crime incidents throughout the country, COPS aims to improve public safety by addressing both the roots of crime and the culture of fear created by it which helps perpetuate criminal activity. The concept of acting locally and addressing the roots of crime is carried out by community policing officers who work within their own communities to develop relationships and build trust with community members. COPS provides funding and training for community policing programs.
BOP is responsible for the administration of the federal prison system. Headquartered in Washington, DC, the bureau oversees 114 prisons, six regional offices, two staff training centers and 28 community corrections offices. BOP is responsible for the custody and care of all 200,000 or so federal inmates—85% of whom are incarcerated in government facilities, while the remaining 15% are in private prisons. The bureau is also responsible for carrying out all legally mandated federal executions, and it maintains a lethal injections center in Terre Haute, Indiana, where, in 2001, Oklahoma City Bomber Timothy McVeigh was the first federal prisoner to be executed in almost 40 years. In addition to its use of capital punishment, BOP has been subject to criticism over budget and program cuts, privatization and agency contracting practices.  
OFDT oversees and coordinates detention activities for the Justice Department, the Department of Homeland Security’s Immigration and Customs Enforcement. OFDT is in charge of seeing that detained persons are provided safe, secure and humane confinement in the most cost-effective manner, and that they appear when required for judicial proceedings or confinement. In addition, it monitors facilities to make sure their performance level is up to agreed standards; develops and implements strategies to deal with potential detention crises; negotiates and awards contracts in support of operational needs; and formulates recommendations and projections on population trends, bed space availability, and costs of state and local government, versus private facilities.
USPC is a semi-autonomous agency within the Justice Department that decides parole cases involving certain federal and District of Columbia (DC) prisoners. The USPC makes parole release decisions; authorizes method of release and the condition under which release occurs; issues warrants for violation of supervision; determines probable cause for revocation process; prescribes, modifies and monitors compliance with the terms and conditions governing offender’s behavior while on parole or mandatory or supervised release; revokes parole, mandatory or supervised release of offenders; releases from supervision those offenders who no longer pose a risk to public safety; issues rules, regulations and guidelines pertaining to the national parole policy. A much larger commission at one time, the USPC has seen its role shrink and its very existence threatened over the past 20 years following a landmark change in sentencing laws in the 1980s.
US Attorneys serve as the nation’s principal litigators under the direction of the Attorney General. Ninety-three attorneys are stationed throughout the US, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, representing the chief federal law enforcement officer within their jurisdiction. US Attorney’s Office districts are synonymous with the judicial districts within the United States. US Attorneys are all appointed by the President for four-year terms, and thus they serve at his pleasure. In 2007, the US Attorneys became the focal point of the one of the biggest controversies of the Bush administration when it was revealed that several prosecutors were allegedly fired for political reasons. The scandal resulted in the resignation of then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales.
One of the top officials in the Department of Justice, the United States Solicitor General represents the federal government in cases before the US Supreme Court. The solicitor general also decides when the United States should appeal a case it has lost in lower federal and state courts, when it should file a brief amicus curiae and when the United States should intervene to defend the constitutionality of an act of Congress. During the years of the Bush administration, the solicitor general has been deeply involved in legal proceedings designed to expand the White House’s efforts to spy on and indefinitely jail terrorism suspects.
OPR investigates allegations of professional misconduct by any of the Department of Justice’s 10,000 attorneys. OPR receives several hundred complaints about US Attorneys per year, from judges, defense attorneys, other DOJ attorneys and staff. Approximately two-thirds of these complaints are determined not to warrant further investigation because the complaints are vague and unsupported by evidence or because they are outside OPR’s jurisdiction. Of the remaining 250 or so, about two-thirds of these are handled as inquiries, resolved by review of written records, including case transcripts and the accused attorney’s written response to the complaint. The remaining third, including some 15% of inquiries that do not resolve the complaint, become full investigations. OPR also refers cases of intentional misconduct to state bar associations. In addition to investigations, OPR engages trains US Attorneys in proper conduct.
As the most secretive judicial body in the United States, the FISC hears requests by federal law enforcement officials to conduct surveillance of Americans or foreigners in the US who are deemed a threat to national security. FISC operates under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978, which was adopted in the wake of governmental abuses of power by the Nixon administration, the Army and the CIA during the 1960s and 1970s. Few Americans had ever heard of the FISC until 2005 when media reports exposed actions by the National Security Agency, operating under orders from President George W. Bush, to monitor phone calls, emails and other electronic communications that may contain information about terrorist activities. The wiretapping was conducted without approval by FISC, setting off a firestorm of debate on Capitol Hill and resulting in changes to FISA to accommodate President Bush’s wishes to continue spying on foreign and domestic communications.
NSD represents the primary national security functions of the Department of Justice: Counterterrorism and Counterespionage, the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, and the new Law and Policy Office. The establishment of NSD was recommended by the 2005 Report of the WMD Commission (Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the US Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction). However, the division immediately became embroiled in controversy, raising serious questions about the erosion of traditional civil liberties.
USNCB is the American branch of the international police organization, INTERPOL, serving as a communications clearing-house for police seeking assistance in criminal investigations that cross international boundaries. Directed by the Attorney General and working under the Justice Department in conjunction with the Department of the Treasury, the USNCB focuses on fugitives, financial fraud, drug violations, terrorism and violent crimes. It can refuse to respond to any of the 200,000 annual inquiries from other nations and, as required by INTERPOL bylaws, does not assist in the capture of suspects.
A quasi-judicial agency, FCSC determines the validity and monetary value of claims by US nationals for loss or damage of property, or personal injury, in foreign countries. Claims fall either under specific jurisdiction conferred by Congress or in accordance with international claims settlement agreements. Funds for payment come out of Congressional appropriations, international claim settlements or liquidation of foreign assets in the United States by the Departments of Justice or Treasury. To date, FCSC and its predecessors have compiled and administered 43 international and war-related claims programs against more than a dozen countries, including Albania, Bulgaria, China, Cuba, Czechoslovakia, East Germany, West Germany, Egypt, Ethiopia, Hungary, Iran, Italy, Panama, Poland, Romania, the Soviet Union, Vietnam and Yugoslavia. There was also a claims program for some American survivors of the Holocaust, and FCSC is currently engaged in preliminary planning for a possible future program involving claims against Iraq.
Victims of Uranium Mining and Nuclear Testing 

RECP provides financial restitution to individuals who became seriously ill as a result of nuclear testing and uranium mining during the Cold War. RECP is managed by the Department of Justice’s Civil Division, Torts Branch, which draws money from a special trust fund to make payments to eligible claimants. Compensation ranges from $50,000 to $100,000 depending upon which category an individual falls under. As of May 8, 2008, the RECP had approved 19,420 claims and rejected 8,071. Most of the successful claimants have been Downwinders (12,063) and Uranium Miners (4,819). The rest have been Onsite Participants, Uranium Millers and Ore Transporters. Onsite Participants have had the hardest time winning claims, with an approval rate of only 44.7% compared to more than 70% for the other categories.


Where Does the Money Go



























The Justice Department has collectively spent almost $35 billion since 2000 on contracts given to private companies and others. According to, more than 55,000 contractors have done business with DOJ by helping to build prisons, provide social services, guard inmates, and provide legal services.

The biggest spenders within the Justice Department are the Bureau of Prisoners/Federal Prison System ($14.1 billion), the FBI ($4.4 billion), US Marshals Service ($3.3 billion) and the DEA ($2.2 billion).
The top 10 recipients of DOJ contracts are:
Corrections Corporation of America
Akal Security, Inc
Lockheed Martin
The Geo Group Inc
CACI International Inc
Computer Sciences Corporation
Hensel Phelps Construction Co
Small Business Consolidated Reporting
L-3 Communications Holdings, Inc.
Krueger International, Inc.
Examples of contracts:
Lockheed Martin won a $1 billion contract to develop a new Next Generation Identification System. A 10-year contract, the new system will expand fingerprinting capability, doubling the size of the current FBI database. It will also include palm prints, iris and facial recognition capabilities. In addition, Lockheed won a $305 million contract to help the FBI improve its information technology capability.
Lockheed Martin also has won lucrative contracts to help DEA with drug enforcement operations. In September 2007 Lockheed Martin was among five companies—including Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Northrop Grumman, Arinc Inc., and Blackwater USA—that were awarded $15 billion in contracts by the Defense Department to help support the war on drugs while the government focuses on the war on terrorism. The companies will develop and deploy new surveillance technologies, train and equip foreign security forces and provide key administrative, logistical and operational support to the Pentagon and other agencies, including DEA.
McDonald Bradley Inc. was among 10 firms to win contracts on the FBI’s Technical Support and Development Project (TSDP). The five-year contract has a potential value of $42.5 million. McDonald Bradley will compete for task orders against AlphaInsight Corp., Comso Inc., Data Computer Corp. of America, Glotech Inc., InfoPro Inc., Innovative Management and Technology Approaches Inc., Pragmatics Inc., Project Performance Corp. and Staffing Alternatives Inc. Task orders cover various IT support services, including cyber security.

Unisys Corporation was awarded a

$50 million contract

for the development and deployment of the Next-Generation Combined DNA Index System. Under the contract, Unisys will provide the FBI with software development, deployment and optional operations and maintenance support. Unisys will partner with the University of Tennessee, Laboratory of Information Technologies; IBM; the University of Cincinnati and iSYS LLC to provide the Next-Generation DNA system. Unisys will provide a highly sophisticated search engine that will accelerate the DNA matching process.



Firing of US Attorneys Brings Down AG

In 2007 all of Washington, DC, was abuzz over revelations that Attorney General Alberto Gonzales had fired eight US Attorneys, some for apparent political reasons. The dismissed attorneys had all been appointed by President George W. Bush more than four years earlier.
The saga began in the White House in 2005 when Bush’s top political advisor, Karl Rove, and Deputy Chief of Staff Kyle Sampson discussed ways of removing several US Attorneys. In March 2005, Sampson came up with a “checklist” on which he rated each of the US Attorneys with criteria that appeared to value political allegiance as much as job performance. He recommended retaining “strong” attorneys who demonstrated loyalty to the Republican Party and removing “weak” ones who had gone against administration initiatives
One of the fired attorneys was Carol Lam, US Attorney for San Diego, who successfully prosecuted Republican Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham. Another was Bud Cummins, US Attorney for Little Rock, AR, whom Rove wanted to replace with a loyal GOP lawyer. Paul Charlton, US Attorney in Arizona, had investigated allegations of corruption against Republican Rep. Rick Renzi.
As a result of the scandal, numerous Department of Justice officials were forced to resign, including Gonzales, Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty, acting Associate Attorney General William W. Mercer, Sampson and Chief of Staff for the Deputy Attorney General Michael Elston.
Gonzales was singled out for criticism by officials from all sides. Cummins called the firings “horrible,” while Republican Senator Charles Grassley of Iowa said the AG “did a lot of stupid things.”
An Investigation into the Removal of Nine U.S. Attorneys in 2006 (office of Professional Responsibilty) (PDF)
Gonzales Defends Actions on U.S. Attorney Firings (by William Branigin, Washington Post)
Alberto Gonzales’ coup d'etat (by Joe Conason, Salon News)
More scrutiny, secrecy at Justice Department (by Richard B. Schmitt, Los Angeles Times)
Only Conservative Loyalists Need Apply
Throughout the eight years of President Bush’s tenure in the White House, the Justice Department became increasingly politicized, as administration officials and DOJ leaders worked to fill the department’s ranks with judicial conservatives and political loyalists. This development became a huge political controversy in 2007 when news broke of the firings of US Attorneys who didn’t toe the party line (see below), and it prompted several investigations into how procedures have changed within DOJ this decade.
In July 2008, the Washington Post reported that President Bush’s first Attorney General, John Ashcroft, submitted to the White House in 2003 a list of five potential candidates to head the Office of Legal Counsel. Then-White House Chief of Staff Andrew Card rejected all five nominees and lobbied instead for John Yoo, a DOJ subordinate who had helped officials in the Oval Office craft the administration’s legal justifications for torturing terrorism suspects and carrying out warrantless wiretapping of US communications sources.
The ordeal caused Ashcroft and Card to lock horns, forcing President Bush to step in to resolve the personnel matter. Among the five candidates Ashcroft offered up, one was Paul D. Clement, who went on to become solicitor general.
In addition to the Washington Post’s findings, the Justice Department’s inspector general reported in June 2008 that DOJ leaders had illegally used political or ideological factors to hire new lawyers into an elite recruitment program. The IG discovered that the department went out of its way to hire law school graduates with conservative credentials instead of those perceived to have liberal-oriented backgrounds.
The effort to hire more conservatives began under Ashcroft. The manner in which Ashcroft’s subordinates went about choosing conservative candidates “constituted misconduct and also violated the department’s policies and civil service law that prohibit discrimination in hiring based on political or ideological affiliations,” the IG reported.
Report Sees Illegal Hiring Practices at Justice Dept. (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)
Olson Presents Case for Secret Wire Taps
Created in 1978, the ultra-secret Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review did not conduct its first hearing until 2002 when the Bush administration challenged a FISC ruling. Leading a high-powered group of attorneys and administration officials was then Solicitor General Theodore Olson, who pleaded for permission to expand the jurisdiction of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act to allow prosecutors and local law enforcement agencies to be involved in the administration’s surveillance program of suspected terrorists and to have access to confidential information.
Olson also argued that by approving the administration’s surveillance requests, the FISC would help law enforcement uncover information about suspects that, even if it was unrelated to terrorism, might be useful to blackmail or intimidate a terrorism suspect into cooperating with the authorities.
The solicitor general further asked for the court to allow an important change in the wording of warrants that could have allowed the government to greatly expand its spying targets. When the FISC judges questioned Olson on what the expanded surveillance powers would be used for, the solicitor general avoided answering directly, much to the frustration of one judge.
What is the Bush Administration Trying to Hide? (by David Wallechinsky, Huffington Post)
The 1993 “Waco Massacre” occurred when the ATF attempted to execute a search warrant on the Branch Davidian compound near Waco, Texas. The Branch Davidians were a cult led by David Koresh and suspected of stockpiling large amounts of weapons. After four ATF officers and six Branch Davidians were killed in the initial raid, the FBI and US Marshals were called in and a 51-day siege ensued until the order was given to raid the compound. The second assault triggered the collective suicide and/or murder of all but a handful of the Branch Davidian members. During subsequent investigations of the handling of the Waco siege, it was revealed that the FBI withheld key information and had lied about its use of gas in the final raid.
Who tipped off the media about the Waco raid? (by Robert Bryce, Jim Moore and Joe Ellis, Salon News)
ATF agent commits suicide; despair over Waco blame cited (by James L. Pate, Washington Times)
Ruby Ridge
In August 1992, the FBI was called in to help with the siege at Ruby Ridge, Idaho. The incident began when ATF agents and US Marshals tried to arrest Randall Weaver on federal weapons charges. A gunfight left one Marshal and Weaver’s fourteen-year-old son dead. When the stand-off settled into a siege, the marshals requested backup from the FBI, which sent in its Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). Initially, the head of the HRT, Richard Rogers, wanted to demolish the cabin that Weaver and others were holed up in by using a special assault vehicle in the HRT’s mobile arsenal. Rogers’ superiors in Washington rejected this plan. But they did authorize an aggressive, shoot-to-kill order that led to an FBI sniper killing Weaver’s wife. The siege ended after Weaver gave himself up.
The handling of the Ruby Ridge incident by federal law enforcement led to one of the most intensive and controversial investigations in recent history. The FBI faced widespread resentment and Attorney General Janet Reno established a Justice Department task force to investigate what had happened. National debates on the case were said to have fueled anti-government sentiments, such as the bombing of a federal building in Oklahoma City in 1995.
Ruby Ridge Lawyer Offers Help in Montana (by Dirk Johnson, New York Times)
Separatist Family Given $3.1 million from Government (by Stephen Labaton, New York Times)
Weaver’s Last Stand (by Virginia Heffernan, Slate)
Privatization of Criminal Justice
Since the 1980s, expanding prison populations and fiscal constraints have led to increased privatization of the federal prison system, with DOJ agencies including the Bureau of Prisons relying on state, local and private prisons to house federal inmates. The government has come under criticism for its contracting practices, which increased the risk of default among private service providers typically contracted for management and construction—thereby increasing security risks. In a 2000/2001 report, the DOJ’s inspector general found that the state and local providers consistently overcharged the government. The report criticized the BOP for relying too heavily on a few private contractors, and pointed to an unstable procurement practice. In response, Congress passed legislation authorizing DOJ to procure private prison services through “nontraditional” or “innovative” agreements—meaning more flexible terms. Under the law, agencies are allowed to procure services independently of traditional government contracting rules.
The Department of Justice's Reliance on Private Contractors for Prison Services (Report No. 01-16 from the National Institute of Justice)
Cost, Performance Studies Look at Prison Privatization (by Gerry Gaes, National Institute of Justice)
Truscott and Domenech Whistleblower Controversy
Edgar A. Domenech, a 23-year veteran of the ATF, filed a complaint with the Office of Special Counsel in March 2008 alleging that the Justice Department had punished him for questioning the performance of former ATF director Carl J. Truscott. Domenech alleged that his complaints about Truscott, beginning in 2005, were ignored by officials because of Truscott’s ties to the White House (He was the former head of President Bush’s Secret Service detail before taking over ATF). Truscott resigned in 2006 while under investigation for alleged financial mismanagement.
ATF Whistle-Blower Alleges Backlash (by Dan Eggen, Washington Post)
FBI Disregards FISC Ruling
According to a Justice Department investigation, twice in 2006 FBI officials went before the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court to obtain warrants and were rebuffed. Instead of abiding by the court’s decision, the FBI went around it to obtain the information it was seeking through national security letters, an administrative procedure that doesn’t require court approval. The FBI’s top lawyer later told Justice investigators that it was appropriate for her agency to issue the letters because she disagreed with the court's conclusions.
The discovery came as part of a larger examination by the bureau’s inspector general into the FBI’s abuse of national security letters to spy on numerous individuals, including Americans. The FBI issued almost 200,000 national security letters from 2003 through 2006. The AG identified hundreds of possible violations of laws or internal guidelines in the use of the letters, including cases in which FBI agents made improper requests, collected more data than they were allowed to, or did not have proper authorization to proceed with the case.
FBI Found to Misuse Security Letters (by Dan Eggen, Washington Post)

AG Role in Eavesdropping, Guantanamo Campaigns

Following the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, the Bush administration embarked on aggressive and illegal strategies to pursue and imprison suspected terrorists using means that fell outside the American system of jurisprudence, not to mention common decency. The tactics employed under the Global War on Terrorism campaign provoked a fiery debate that sometimes lined up conservatives and Bush administration officials on one side and civil libertarians and Democrats on the other. But not always. At times, members of Bush’s inner circle privately or publicly expressed reservations regarding the strategies employed on behalf of protecting the country.
Firmly entrenched in the Bush camp was the Attorney General, a position first held by John Ashcroft and then by Alberto Gonzales, who played a key role as White House counsel while Ashcroft led the Department of Justice during Bush’s first term in office. While both men held the office of Attorney General, they appeared to be stout believers in President Bush’s plans to conduct domestic spying operations involving the National Security Agency, the indefinite jailing of terrorism suspects at the Navy base on Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the use of military tribunals, instead of civilian courts, to try detainees.
Ashcroft played a key role in the formulation and passage of the Patriot Act and its sequel, Patriot II or the Domestic Security Act of 2003. However, after he stepped down as AG, it was learned that Ashcroft wasn’t as gung-ho about other radical steps being pushed by administration officials, such as Gonzales. Ashcroft reportedly was cool to broadening the president’s ability to expand domestic eavesdropping authority to monitor communications among suspected terrorists—which Gonzales wholeheartedly supported. Ashcroft also had some reservations about the indefinite imprisonment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, while Gonzales drafted the rules for military tribunals and oversaw a 2005 Justice Department opinion that granted CIA agents carte blanche to utilize extreme techniques of interrogation, including head-slapping, exposure to cold and simulated drowning (known as “waterboarding”), on terrorism suspects.
Ashcroft's Complex Tenure At Justice (by Peter Baker and Susan Schmidt, Washington Post)
Congress Seeks Justice Dept. Documents on Interrogation (by David Johnston and Scott Shane, New York Times)
When members of al Qaeda hijacked commercial airliners on 9/11 and crashed them into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, these terrorists essentially declared war on America, according to supporters of the Bush administration. This situation established special circumstances upon which the government could pursue attackers, their supporters and would-be terrorists with any means available to protect the United States from future attacks and to bring those responsible for 9/11 to justice. In 2002, Gonzales wrote to the president telling him that the Geneva Conventions did not apply to members of Al Qaeda or members of the former Taliban government in Afghanistan because they had systematically violated the laws of war. This rationale set the legal foundation for holding detainees offshore in Cuba and employing harsh interrogation methods to extract timely intelligence.
In the war on terror, information is at a premium, and it is critical that government agents and other officials have all the necessary means available to go after those who pose a threat to the US, according to supporters. Gonzales added that it was important not to limit the tools available to America’s guardians, for if the administration began “ruling out speculated interrogation practices,” he wrote, “we would fairly rapidly provide Al Qaeda with a road map concerning the interrogation that captured terrorists can expect to face and would enable Al Qaeda to improve its counter-interrogation training to match it.”
Ashcroft Reflects on War on Terrorism (by Melissa Block, NPR)
Gonzales Says Humane-Policy Order Doesn’t Bind C.I.A. (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)
Civil libertarians and some law experts expressed concerns from the very beginning of the Bush administration’s answer to combating terrorist threats, beginning with the passage of the Patriot Act. What concerned opponents the most was, in essence, that in order to save the country, the administration was undermining the very constitutional basis and system of laws that make America special in the world. For human rights experts, the messages put forth by Ashcroft, Gonzales and others were appalling, demonstrating no political conscience for what their policies would ultimately mean for the nation’s present and future form of democracy.
The president and his close advisors thought they could win this war by “acting tough” and treating the rule of law and constitutional freedoms as optional. Fearmongering has become a means to an equally frightful end, where legal standards are upheld only for the sake of political convenience, or simply discarded altogether. By taking the country down this path, the administration is playing right into Al Qaeda’s hands by further alienating America from the world.
Taking Liberties (by David Cole, Nation)
John Ashcroft: Minister of Fear (by Dick Meyer, CBS News)
Getting Intelligence
Ever since the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the FBI’s intelligence gathering ability has been questioned. The aftermath of the World Trade Center and Pentagon assaults produced heated calls to strip the FBI of all intelligence-gathering capability. FBI leadership asked for a second chance, and while changes have been attempted, some critics still aren’t satisfied.
At the core is the FBI’s historic lack of a strong intelligence operation. It never has relied on such duties as strategic analysis or effectively collecting, analyzing and disseminating domestic intelligence that can alert other law enforcement agencies of potential threats.
Including both Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill, critics contend the FBI will never get it right, that the bureau’s intelligence reforms are too slow and too limited. The FBI’s deeply rooted law enforcement culture and its reactive practice of investigating crimes after the fact make impossible for the bureau to change its spots, to use the leopard analogy. Critics also question whether Director Robert Mueller, who has an extensive background in criminal prosecution but lacks experience in the intelligence field, sufficiently understands the role of intelligence to be able to lead an overhaul of the FBI’s intelligence operation.
Consisting primarily of President George W. Bush and other administration officials, supporters counter that they believe the FBI can change, that its shortcomings are fixable and that Mueller’s reforms will work in the long run. They also argue that a successful war against terrorism demands that law enforcement and intelligence be closely linked. And they maintain that the FBI is institutionally able to provide an integrated approach, because it already combines both law enforcement and intelligence functions.
Suggested Reforms:

US Attorneys Scandal Forces AG to Accept Changes

While the controversy over the firing of US Attorneys raged, then-Attorney General Alberto Gonzales agreed to change the way US Attorneys can be replaced. Initially, Gonzales and the Bush administration refused to consider the change put forth by Congressional Democrats. But threats from a senior Republican senator caused Gonzales to reconsider.
Gonzales was able to fire eight US Attorneys, following a little-noticed change in federal law in 2006 that allowed the AG to appoint interim federal prosecutors to indefinite terms. Under the previous system, the local federal district court would appoint a temporary replacement after 120 days until a permanent candidate was named and confirmed by the Senate.
Democrats led by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) introduced legislation that would eliminate the 2006 change and thus limit the power of future attorneys general to appoint interim prosecutors.
The capitulation by Gonzales came just hours after Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA.), the top Republican on the Judiciary Committee, seemed to suggest that Gonzales’s tenure may not last through the remainder of President Bush’s term. “One day there will be a new attorney general, maybe sooner rather than later,” Specter said. As it turned out, Gonzales resigned anyway later that year.
Gonzales Yields On Hiring Interim U.S. Attorneys (by Paul Kane and Dan Eggen, Washington Post)
“Sweetheart Deal” for Ashcroft Leads to Changes
After serving under former Attorney General John Ashcroft, a US Attorney in New Jersey steered a lucrative contract to his former boss in 2007. With no public notice and no bidding, Ashcroft received an 18-month contract worth $28 million to $52 million to monitor an out-of-court settlement agreed to by a medical supply company. The New Jersey prosecutor, US Attorney Christopher Christie, directed similar monitoring contracts to two other former Justice Department colleagues from the Bush administration, as well as to a former Republican state attorney general in New Jersey.
The revelation provoked outrage among Congressional Democrats, one of whom called the contract a “backroom sweetheart deal” for Ashcroft. Leaders of the House and Senate Judiciary committees called for the Government Accountability Office to review how Justice Department monitors are selected and paid. In addition, legislation was introduced that would require judges to supervise monitors and force administration officials to follow specific guidelines when choosing monitors.
To head off the effort by lawmakers, Attorney General Michael Mukasey ordered an internal review to determine whether national standards should be imposed to avoid the appearance of impropriety. Mukasey did so even though he stated publicly that the deals to Ashcroft and others were “perfectly appropriate,” adding “people deserve to get paid, particularly people who have talent and ability and experience.”
Three months after the controversy became public, the Justice Department announced internal guidelines for the selection of monitors in out-of-court settlements with large companies. The guidelines were intended to avoid future conflict-of-interest accusations. But some lawmakers still weren’t satisfied with Mukasey’s actions. The chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers Jr. (D-MI), suggested the new guidelines may not have gone far enough and warned that new legislation might be in order to impose new rules on monitor selection.
“We must assure the public that the Department of Justice is not rewarding political allies in a forum where prosecutorial independence is absolutely necessary,” said Conyers.
Ashcroft Deal Brings Scrutiny in Justice Dept (by Philip Shenon, New York Times)
Mukasey Had Been Overseer Finalist (by Carrie Johnson, Washington Post)
Ashcroft Defends Contract That U.S. Steered to Him (by Philip Shenon, New York Times)
Congress Threatens to Reign in FBI Powers
Having overstepped its bounds, the FBI is now faced with threats by lawmakers and even President Bush to clamp down on the bureau’s domestic spying. Following 9/11, the federal government adopted the Patriot Act which, among other things, gave the FBI increasing leeway to investigate suspected terrorists without court approval.
At the center of concerns are what’s known as Letters of National Security, which the FBI used to demand information from businesses and individuals without a court order. Lawmakers from both parties called for new limits that would curtail the FBI from improperly obtaining telephone logs, banking records and other personal information on thousands of Americans.
Details of the FBI’s work were revealed by the Department of Justice’s Inspector General, Glenn A. Fine, whose report mentioned widespread abuse of the FBI’s authority to seize personal details about tens of thousands of people without court oversight through the use of national security letters. Fine also found that the FBI had arranged for several leading telephone companies to allow the agency to ask for information on more than 3,000 phone numbers, often without a subpoena, without an emergency or even without an investigative case. In 2006, the FBI then issued blanket letters authorizing many of the requests retroactively.
Both Democratic Sen. Charles Schumer of New York and Republican Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania threatened to introduce legislation to amend the Patriot Act to prevent the FBI or other federal law enforcement offices from abusing the Letters of National Security.
Bush Pledges Swift Action on FBI Reform (by Dan Eggen, John Solomon and Peter Baker, Washington Post)
Former Directors:
See all 61 comments


Tricia Poling 2 years ago
Can someone please tell me why it is that my son who was attacked by tempe officers for walking past them and then had multiple bogus charges to fightin court and of course without means to hire attorney the p.d. was a joke 4months later mesa police almost kill my son again attack without provocation. And hes now charged with 2x the bogus charges . and prior wuth video to prove it a ridiculous bond and public defender he is doing 7 yrs yet some guy gets on tv and all charges drop ive tried every avenue of this justice system with to justice found . how dare you treat my child this way . we are a twisted and corrupt country because of the govt.who is twisted and corrupt to its core. I did not believe it untill it was shoved in my face time and again. There is no hope of justice or is there please prove me wrong!!!! Please
John waddington 2 years ago
I sued the Catholic Church and a known serial rapist priest Charles many in Bridgeport us federal court in 2001. The church was supposed to turn over all their records about Mr. Many to the court. The judge Janet hall read the records and made a summary judgement that let the church off the hook. In 2018 attorney reardon from new London won a $900,000 settlement from the church. I went to the same church,sacred heart in Groton connecticut.same priest.same time.i have not received my settlement from the church. Either the church did not give the court all the records in 2001 or the judge read them and decided not to act on the facts. It has been almost 20 years. I feel I deserve justice in this case. Who can I talk to at the justice department to finally get this settled. Thank you.
William Eric Hamilton 2 years ago
My name is William Eric Hamilton my phone number is 6017576390 and my sister is Gayle Dawn Papisan she was targeted before me yall are my last hope i just can't let this go someone else could get hurt an taken average of like us i didn't believe some of the things she told me until it happened to me so as a older brother i felt like it was my job to protect her I what the Department Of Justice to know who is involved in this in mississippi it is the secret organisations as follows masons uhf vhf society my mom Debbie Ornelas is a eastern star she whated my sisters baby and got it and Dale Bridges wanted my property he owns almost all of Florence mississippi he now owns my home it started in 2010 i went to Washington in 2015 to report to the fcc what had happen to me i felt it was my duty as a citizen an was turned away by security they wouldn't let me talk to an agent i am not asking you if this can happen i am telling you this did happen keep in mind that these people are judges police fireman and attorneys and they know what I am about to tell you is true an is a big secret they don't what people to know like y'all they are salt of the earth they are here to serve and protect i am not saying like a crazy person its the government i am saying it is people that work for the government what a cover I have emailed the fcc information on things that happened to me and got confirmation ticket number 2809205 so I will save y'alls time I know y'all can access that information through the fcc I have read y'all work together I what y'all to know I don't lie the truth is easier unlike these secret member they have one thing in common they are liecened fcc members and mason members and they work for the government so tell me if you could see everything someone is doing and seeing through their eyes yes i said seeing through their eyes do yall think y'all could get away with saying he or see is carzy and take their freedom and send them to metal institutes and steal everything you own and hold dear and get away with it these organizations do and have but I amem to stop this with y'alls help when you access my information from the fcc you will read crazy and what I said about seeing through your eyes it will hurt you an make you very angry I can't believe there is anything that is more urgent than this to stop the harm being done to the public it is a matter of public safety and a waste of government agencies this is not a game it is a serious matter all I what is to be taken seriously and not a metal case I am not I am angry the the fcc hasn't emailed me or contact me in anyway I wouldn't think that y'all would put up with this if y'all know remember I don't lie when you fill electromagnetic pulses running up and down your body and all you here are people laughing and saying does that fill good or we're going to have him taking his close off in public looking for a camera or we are going to make him wear ten foil on his head when he goes out in public I mean can you make someone look crazy and sound crazy if you what something they have it's money in the bank so you either lost everything you have and let it go or you try to do what you can do to help and prevent anymore harm to the public I am not a hero I am a son of eastern star and that organisation showed me their cards I will not be siloiced because i am thin skinned it can an will again happen if we all just ignore the problem all I want out of this is my life back i lost my job home freedom my personal belongings and i am not very educated but im not stupid either I hope y'all can help me put meaning back in God we trust in mississippi justice system think of anyone in your family or anyone else's family for that matter would y'all like their privacy to be invaded in this matter if you were to add it in money value in land 200000 In personal belongings 50000 finds
Martha South 2 years ago
I have a Son I Petersburg fci lOW...He has many many medical issues.. and is being denied help..He has puss and blood commig from rectume from a hrnia surgury 1year and 7 months ago. we have been fight fbop for that long for medical help. he wars to;et paper between is cheeck to keep from comming thought smells bad.he needs hip and pelvic surgury. arm surhury shoulder surgury knee. and his teeth.a dr come in and said somethin g about a mri .never got it but fbop and the prison said he did..lie the wardon lied as well i have the papers to prove it. iv had tom tillis senator of NC and VA . Goc cooper on this matter nothing has happened yet. my son has been a upstanding inmate . His clemancy in wa and wa sent for his paper work. im disable .need him .so he needs us. the dr come in and and chadley asked for a shot for his pain. and the Dr got in my son face and degraded him . jerked him around searched him. and told him its all in his head..i ahve all paper work my son was abussed at 18 months old and mulested and has had a hard life sence.he is in prison for 16 years for trying to save my life and his wifess from a illagle gang menber. she took her life after..i everyday try and get elp for my son. as this dr chioco told my son he needs mental help. i cant let my son give up. hes come so far.its sad how no one cares for gods childern and the familys do time with them. im disabled take care of my mother with Alzimers.and god know we need him.hell be 40 in feb. goes to the camp nex month. hes alsome mr Price at fci petersburg can tell you just what kind of a man he is and has become in the 10 years hes been in prison..please help my son god bless hope to hear back from someone my son has wrote up the dr for the harrashment. and refusing him care and tells him he is crazy.its all in his hed. he was in a terrable motorcycle accident that caused in to almost loose his life his body mangled..please his family needs him help us please..moma martha south
Regina branham 2 years ago
I Have Had it with elected officials in AZ. Who do you go to when a judge (justice of the Peace) - that your father, when he was alive, took his eviction cases to against tenants who didn't pay rent - shows up in his robe everyday at lunchtime for two months before he dies of cancer - names himself as successor trustee of a trust his personal attorney writes and the judge brings pages needing signatures - never gives father a copy of what he was signing for - judge names himself to P.O.D. Bank acct. holding $246,000. In it - which he took after his death - sold a cabin worth $350,000. for $200,000. Cash of which he kept and gave away father's 55' Chevy Bel-Air, tried to sell 54' Chevy truck to vice-mayor and after getting an Atty to stop him - since it is against Judicial Code of Conduct to act as a trustee or in Fidiuary position - he re-signs only to appoint a fidiciuary company as Devicee to 3.5m in real estate? This judge is on the bench with authority to sentence people to jail when the crimes he has committed are 100x worse than what comes into his court. If stealing is this easy to obtain 20 houses, motel and apts. and a big wad of cash what do we even have laws for or judges for that matter - this guy had a $35,000. Fed tax lien against him since 2006. He filed for an extension 2 weeks after accepting trustee. I cannot find one place to make this guy and what he has taken from our families lives to hold him accountable or to pay back what he illegally took. This world is in big trouble. Great job. Too bad it is for the benefit of only themselves and how others work entire lives to make them wealthy overnight. Please tell me where to go to get justice !
Laurel sykora 2 years ago
I am outraged at Trump's behavior! I feel he should be charged with TREASON. He has alienated our allies and kissed Putin's butt!
anonymous 2 years ago
This is not any kind of isolated incident. This occurs daily in california. I dont believe Americans should loss rights at the same time suffering a devastating loss. The Attorneys that work in probate cases, are robbing americans daily and profitting for themselfs. This is seriously breaking many state and federal laws. it continues. The people cannot depend on the state bar association to obtain any just fairness should they make complaints with evidence to prove the wrong doing. One attorney has gotten away with this for 3 decades. It sickens me to know how all involved continue to get away with thier crimes.
John McCauley 3 years ago
On 5/14/2014 Small claims Court Case Number 37-2014-00300574-SC-SC-NC. Temporary Judge Richard Wirtz. On that date I was awarded a Judgement of $20.03'Prior to entering into Judge's court i agreed to have the case heard by an Arbitrator, I was convinced it would be faster and less costly. The young man Arbitrator was inexperienced to know what a Power of Attorney was. We spent a considerable time on the POA as well as an attorney that was used to obtain a last will and testament for the Defendant. during the arbitration the Judge called Three time wanting to know what the holdup was. On his last call he was irritated and requested the arbitration be terminated stating."It was late and he wanted to go home". Upon entering the courtroom the Judge was heard to exclaim "It's late and I'm going to make this quick. He addressed the Plaintiff asking to state his case. The plaintiff presented a thee ring binder consisting of exhibits "A" through "u". Exh"A" consisted of daily meetings between the Defendant and the Plaintiff many of those meetings were attended by MS. Meryl Brown, a neighbor. The reason they were held at MS Brown's was The Defendant is a hoarder and lacked the space for three people to sit for the exchange of the Defendant Wishes. The Defendant requested the Plaintiff help her to relieve her of her hoardings in the principle home and a second home, that was floor to ceiling and wall to wall. The principle's home too, was hoardings floor to ceiling and wall to wall. In addition the defendant had six storage units in the same condition and two canvas sheds in her driveway, all loaded with hoardings.The back yard and the swimming pool were blocked with hoardings During our meetings the defendant asked the plaintiff to remove the hoardings from all locations, Her top priority was to purchase a used car, she desperately needed to visit her husband who was in the VA hospital,in close to death condition and not expected to live. She had six time shares that they could not use and wished to have the Plaintiff dispose of.The small house had been vacant for fifteen years only to hoard more. She had out of state property delinguent in taxes and payments, she had thousands of dollars in credit card charges. She used her credit for all her and her husbands meals, she couldn't get close to the stove if she had to, one bathroom was also full of hoardings, the master bathroom had no lights (the plaintiff repaired the problem)Last but not least. The Plaintiff requested the Defendant obtain a lawyer for her to obtain her last will and testament.During these many meetings she volunteered all of her financials, her tax returns her mortgages, savings, liabilities,income and investments.All these actions are supported in Ex"A" with support of the defendant hand written notes.The defendant husband was injured while in the OCS, his roommate playfully lounged a duelling sword up his nose and into his brain. He was mentally unable to partisipate in these meetings because of his condition. The Judge never looked at exhibit "A"(or any of the exhibits). The plaintiff lives in Payson Arizona and came to her aid in an urgent telephone call on 9/2/13, requesting I help her, that she didn't have transportation. She had an old car that sat in her driveway but it needed repairs, she volunteered that car to the plaintiff as part payment for performing her plight. In addition to the car she paid the plaintiff two $500.00 advance wages for two week. .These meetings were considered as our "Memorandum of Understanding". The conditions were documented by Photographs and by several pages of hand written notes and the signing of a Power of Attorney, witnessed and notarized. A plan was made, each item was given a priority and a budget proposed and agreed upon. The Judge gave a glance at the plaintiffs exhibits and stated " I don't see a contract here and proceeded to deny my wages of $5000.00. He then asked the defendants if they had copies of my exhibits, they replied that they did. The Judge asked what my claim was for. I directed him to exhibit "N" a comprehensive list of all my expenses and receipts documented. The Judge turned to the defendants asking if they had a copy. they replied to the affirmative. He asked if they objected to any, and they replied all of the items that were listed in order #1 through item #26, especially #2 and #3 air fares dated 9/12/13 and 9/25/13 reasoning the two $500.00 payments were to cover air fares. The wages were paid 9/7/13 and 9/12/13 prior to the air fares. The defendant lied. the total of item #2 And #3, totaled $330.00 The Judge applied two wages of #500.00 each or $1000.00 (leaving $697.00 unaccounted for and not addressed in the Judges final award). The next item the judge addressed was the 2001 Cadillac that sat in the driveway unable to safely be driven noted to have engine mounts missing, evidenced the vehicle had been in a serious accident. This was concealed by the defendant. The Cadillac was not a contention by the defendant nor the plaintiff, it was introduced to the claim by the judge without notice. The Judge asked the Bailiff to find out the value of the car, finding the value to be $2300.00 in good condition. The Judge applied that amount against the plaintiffs expenses.The Judge was complicit in the sale of a dangerous vehicle that could have caused injuries or even death to the Plaintiff. The remainder of the plaintiffs claim was $$3508.93 Less the $1000.00 (plaintiff's wages) or $2508.93 From that amount the Judge deducted $2300.00 for the car remaining total of $208.93. The judge disallowed Item #1 on exhibit "N" $178.90 air fare.(he declared that amount to be unacceptable because it was prior to my arrival and not giving consideration for the emergency call to my home in Arizona) totaling $30.03 The Judge made an arithmetic mistake arriving at $20.03 Judgement for the Plaintiff. The unaccounted amount for Item #2 and #3 gives the defendant an additional $670.00. The Judge failed to give the defendant Credits from the initial invoice $1500.00 for proceeds of the estate sale and 766.81 for credit for tires the defendant paid and was reimbursed for.$ the $766.81 total $2266.91 plus the credit of items #2 and #3 $1000.00 less the $20.03 award or the defendants award of $,3633.01 $1500.00 credit for sale $ 766.81 Credit for tires -------- $2266.81 $ 187.98 credit for item #1 --------- $2454.79 Sub total -$1000.00 --------+ ------ $3151.79 $ 670.00 Credit for Items #2 and #3 -------- $3821.79 Award for the defendant In his hurry to go home the Judge also withheld the Shell receipt for $753.97 and a receipt for repairs to the motor mounts Item 20, on the out of pocket expenses (Ex"N") in the amount of $295.60 as assurance the plaintiff was given the award.(He didn't need the Shell invoice or the tire centers). This was all part of his gerrymandering the figures to make certain the plaintiff was awarded the final award, preventing the plaintiff from appealing his decision. I have submitted my claim first to Judge Richard Danielsen, Wierz's superior. He denied my request to find the claim a mistrial and found Wirtz to be respectful and remarkably patient and that my claim was irrelevant. He arrived at this conclusion after listening to the audio of the trial. Danielsen stated in accordance with the statues I am not entitled to an appeal. I have submitted my claim to the Superior Court of San Diego, The State Bar of California,The San Diego Attorney General and the Commission On Judicial Performance, all denied my claim for various reasons. I a have requested Judge Wirtz be disbarred and removed from the bench and the loss of his licence to practice law. Judge Wirtz has violated my constitutional rights to a fair trial, violated The Code of Ethics, Cannons 1,2,3,4 and 6.Wirtz abused his power and obstructed justice (California Penal code 96.5).Violation of The California Legislative Information Probate Code Division 4.5 Powers of Attorney 4000-4545 section 4450, GI,Reimburse the agent for expenditures properly made by the agent in exercising the powers granted by the Power of Attorney. Section 4451 sub section D Compensation. This claim was reduced to conform to the limits of the Small Claims Court. The plaintiffs claim exceeded those limits by tens of thousands. Especially the Plaintiffs right to employ others to aid in the management of the principles interest. The Plaintiff has expended more $3500.00 to rectify the damages related to the initial accident prior to the Judge insisting he buy the gifted car.The Plaintiff cannot sell or transfer ownership because it is a danger to anyone that drives it. the final estimate to repair was estimated to be in excess of $4000.00, making it a constructive total loss. I am a 87 year old veteran, I'am not an attorney and I have trouble typing, I have gained my typing experience researching and communicating with the agencies noted. I have compiled more than 10 pounds of correspondence in my file,photographs, and letters. I may be contacted at telephone 928 468 6741 or email; mailing address PO Box 1513, Payson Arizona, 85547. Please help me put this matter behind me I have lost many hours of sleep and my health has been seriously affected. Best regards: John J. McCauley a 4
doug dizoglio 3 years ago
Gerald Dudash 3 years ago
I would like to see an investigation into the rigging of voting machines during the past presidential election. The narrative from the Democratic Party from the very beginning was that there was no tampering. They want the focus on fake Russian collusion. With all the resources being steered in that direction. Preset software or hacking during the election should be investigated by trusted individuals.The Democrats have proven their dishonesty and when they say there is nothing there that should raise red flags.

Leave a comment

Founded: 1870
Annual Budget: $25 billion
Employees: 105,000
Official Website:

Department of Justice

Sessions, Jeff
Attorney General

Continuing to load his new administration with ultra-conservatives loyal to him, President-elect Donald Trump stated his intention to nominate Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III (R-Alabama) to serve as attorney general. The first Senator to endorse Trump for president, at a time when many party leaders were denouncing him for racist comments, Sessions was rejected by the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 for a federal judgeship because of allegations of racist behavior. Next year, that same committee will have to confirm his appointment to head the Department of Justice.


Born in Selma, Alabama, on December 24, 1946, to Jefferson B. Sessions, Jr., who owned a country store and a farm equipment dealership, and the former Abbie Powe, Sessions grew up near Hybart, Alabama, in Wilcox County. Located in the “black belt,” Wilcox was the state’s poorest county, a place where white power was so entrenched that African Americans constituted 77.9% of the population but not a single one was registered to vote.


According to a desegregation lawsuit filed in 1965, Jim Crow shaped Wilcox’s separate but unequal school system as well. Despite the widespread poverty, Wilcox was able to provide a quality education to white students like Sessions because of segregation. Wilcox spent five times more per white pupil as per black pupil, and black schools lacked central heating, indoor plumbing, regular maintenance, or up to date instructional materials, all of which white schools, like Wilcox Central High School, had. Sessions graduated Wilcox Central in 1965.


Growing up in a pro-segregation household during the Civil Rights Movement, Sessions was 16 years old when Alabama Gov. George Wallace infamously pledged “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever,” in 1963, and 18 when the movement came to Wilcox in the form of voter registration drives and the case against the county school system. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., visited Wilcox County several times to assist in the fight. White resisters beat and killed civil rights activists, and even led an armed assault on a leading black church in July 1965.


After graduating high school, Sessions attended Huntingdon College in Montgomery, a private Methodist-supported school that was also for whites only, earning a B.A. in 1969. He was active in the Young Republicans at a time when some Southern whites were just beginning to switch to the GOP in response to Democratic support for civil rights, and was student body president. Sessions attended the University of Alabama School of Law, which in 1969 finally admitted its first black student, and graduated with his J.D. in 1973. 


Although Sessions entered private practice in Russellville and later in Mobile, where he has lived since the 1970s, he has spent most of his career working for the government. He served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Alabama from 1975 to 1977 and as U.S. Attorney for the same district from 1981 to 1993. He also served in the Army Reserve in the 1970s with the rank of captain.


Nominated in 1986 for a federal judgeship by President Ronald Reagan, Sessions failed to persuade the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee to send his nomination to the floor for a vote because of allegations of racist statements and behavior.


According to sworn testimony, Sessions called a black attorney, Thomas Figures, who worked for him “boy,” and admonished him to “be careful what you say to white folks.” Sessions also stated that the ACLU and NAACP were “un-American” and “Communist-inspired” because they “forced civil rights down the throats of people,” but joked that the Ku Klux Klan was “OK, until he learned that they smoked marijuana.” Sessions denied using the term “boy” and being a racist, and defended the other comments, but testimony about his prosecution of the “Marion Three” just a year before doomed his chances.


In 1985, Sessions charged three civil rights workers—including Albert Turner, a former aide to Martin Luther King Jr. who led the mule wagon that carried King’s body through the streets of Atlanta in 1968—with voter fraud, for allegedly tampering with 14 absentee ballots. The three had been working in Alabama’s “Black Belt” counties, where black voter registration drives were beginning to bear fruit. Sessions’ decision to focus on these counties to the exclusion of others was criticized by civil rights advocates, who charged that Sessions was scrutinizing the black community, but overlooking similar violations among whites. Worst of all, the case was weak: the judge dismissed more than half of the charges for lack of evidence, and the jury took only three hours to acquit the defendants on the remainder.


The Senate Judiciary Committee, despite its Republican majority, rejected Sessions’ nomination by a vote of 10-8, only the second time that had happened in 48 years.


In 1993, seven years after the derailment of his judicial nomination, Sessions resigned as U.S. Attorney in order to allow the incoming Clinton administration to select a successor. Just two years later, Sessions was elected Alabama attorney general in 1995, serving in that post for just two years before winning election to the U.S. Senate—and subsequently a seat on the Judiciary Committee.


Sessions has been one of the Senate’s most conservative members. On every issue he will encounter as attorney general, he takes a far-right position. On immigration, for example, Sessions not only opposes a path for citizenship for undocumented residents, he wants to restrict legal immigration as well. He has opposed special visa programs sought for Silicon Valley and, in a May 2006 speech in the Senate, said, “Almost no one coming from the Dominican Republic to the United States is coming because they have a skill that would benefit us.”


Sessions opposes any civil rights protections for gay or transgender Americans, earning a 0 rating from the Human Rights Campaign. He voted for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage and voted against expanding hate crimes to include crimes against homosexuals.


Sessions is also anti-choice, and was one of only 37 Senators to vote against embryonic stem cell research, and one of only 22 who opposed the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization in 2013.


He strongly opposes the legalization of marijuana for any reason, stating that pot “is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it’s not something to laugh about...and good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He believes that marijuana is more dangerous that alcohol and that marijuana use leads to the abuse of other drugs.


Sessions has been a strong supporter of government surveillance methods and voted against the USA Freedom Act of 2015 that restricted the National Security Agency’s surveillance powers.


Although Sessions voted to confirm President Barack Obama’s choice of Eric Holder as attorney general, he voted against Holder’s replacement, Loretta Lynch.


Sessions and his wife, Mary, have two daughters and one son and seven granddaughters and three grandsons.

-Matt Bewig


To Learn More:

Trump picks Sen. Jeff Sessions for attorney general (by Del Quentin Wilber and Lisa Mascaro, Los Angeles Times)

Jeff Sessions, as Attorney General, Could Overhaul Department He’s Skewered (by Eric Lichtblau, New York Times)

What they are saying about Jeff Sessions back home (by John Sharp,

United States v. Wilcox County (Ala.) Board of Education, 494 F.2d 575 (5th Cir. 1974)

United States v. Wilcox County (Ala.) Board of Education (DOJ Trial Brief, 1966).

Transcript of Senate Hearings on Judicial Nomination of Jefferson Sessions III (1986)

The General Condition of the Alabama Negro (Student Non Violent Coordinating Committee, 1965).

Bus Ride to Justice (by Fred D. Gray, rev. ed., 2013).

This Bright Light of Ours: Stories from the Voting Rights Fight (by Maria Gitin, University of Alabama Press, 2014). 

Lynch, Loretta
Previous Attorney General

Loretta E. Lynch, a longtime U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, was President Barack Obama’s choice to become the 83rd attorney general of the United States, succeeding Eric Holder. She served in that position from April 27, 2015 until January 20, 2017, the date Donald Trump became president.


Lynch was born in Greensboro, North Carolina, in 1959, to Lorenzo and Lorine Lynch and moved with her family to Durham, North Carolina as a child. Her father was a Baptist minister, as was his father. Her mother was a farm worker who became a librarian. Lynch attended a mostly white elementary school, and when she once scored well on an achievement test, school officials made her retake the test because they assumed she had cheated on it. She did as well the second time. Lynch graduated from Durham High School in 1977 and went to Harvard, where she earned a B.A. in English and American Literature in 1981. She remained in Cambridge to attend Harvard Law, receiving her J.D. in 1984. Lynch began her legal career in private practice as a litigation associate for the firm of Cahill Gordon and Reindel in New York.


In 1990, Lynch joined the office of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, which is responsible for prosecuting federal crimes in the New York boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island and in Nassau County (Long Island). One of her most noteworthy cases was the prosecution of the Green Dragons, a Chinese gang that was convicted of racketeering and murder. Lynch was named chief of the Long Island office in 1993 and served there until 1998, when she was named chief assistant U.S. attorney.


Her most prominent case while there came when she helped prosecute New York City policeman Justin Volpe, who had been among those involved in the 1997 assault and forcible sodomization of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima. Midway through his trial in 1999, Volpe pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 30 years in prison.


Later that year, President Bill Clinton appointed Lynch to be U.S. attorney for the Eastern District. She served only two years before being replaced by a George W. Bush appointee in 2001.


Lynch then returned to the private sector, joining the New York firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells) as a partner. She focused on commercial litigation, white-collar criminal defense and corporate compliance. In 2003, Lynch was appointed a Federal Reserve director with jurisdiction over the Second Federal Reserve District. She also served in 2005 as an investigator for the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda and conducted a special investigation into allegations of witness tampering and false testimony at the tribunal.


In 2010, Lynch was again appointed to serve as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York. She led the prosecution for embezzlement of former New York state senate majority leader Pedro Espada Jr. Her office filed charges in 2013 on a $45 million cyberattack on ATMs, made arrests this year in the 1978 Lufthansa heist at Kennedy Airport, dramatized in the movie Goodfellas, and is now prosecuting Rep. Michael Grimm (R-New York) for tax fraud. Despite the indictment, Grimm was easily re-elected to Congress in the 2014 general election.


In 2007 Lynch married Stephen Hargrove, and she has two stepchildren. One of her brothers, Leonzo, followed their father into the ministry, the other, Lorenzo Jr. who died in 2009, served as a Navy Seal.

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Official Biography

The Republican Senate Will Love Loretta Lynch (by Carl Gibson, Reader Supported News)

A Low-Profile Prosecutor (by Sean Gardiner, Wall Street Journal)