The Trump Administration Is Not A Friend Of Justice
“The prosecutor has more control over life, liberty and reputation
than any other person in America,” ~Robert Jackson, former Attorney General
It has been said that the Federal Prosecutor, aka U.S. Attorney, is the most powerful law enforcement official in the country, the king of the courtroom and the driver of what is egregiously wrong with our United States justice system.
In the Bundy, Hammond and other trials, we witnessed first hand, with high definition clarity, the breath taking misconduct of the federal prosecutors and, like a man opening a bag of torture tools, used lies, plea agreements, minimum sentences, grand jury indictments, etc. as tools to torture his innocent victims and to win at all costs.
Now, under Trump appointed Attorney General Sessions, the manual or handbook used by prosecutors to do their jobs has been modified to reflect Session’s focus on getting “tough on crime.”
Tough On Crime Is Tough On Civil Rights
The guiding principle for Sessions, as he directs the Department of Justice (DOJ), is to get tough on crime. That may sound good on the surface, but behind that principle is the very thing that our founders wanted to prevent. Getting tough on crime is a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.”
Getting tough on crime is a pretext to concentrate more power in centralized government. Getting tough on crime is a twin to getting tough on terrorists, which gave us many unconstitutional laws such as the Patriot Act, the FISA court and the revelations by Snowden on the many outrages committed by a secret, powerful and invasive government.
The tough on crime excuse gave us many erosions of our Bill of Rights and has given us such things as the Bail Reform Act (BRA) which murdered a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. It is the BRA which gave Navarro and Brown the power to throw innocent Bundys and their supporters into prison, prior to trial, prior to conviction.
Sessions Likes Minimum Sentences
With the modification of the prosecutor’s manual, comes a deletion of language that protected defendants from minimum sentences. The manual now reads: “Once the decision to prosecute has been made, the attorney for the government should charge and pursue the most serious, readily provable offenses. By definition, the most serious offenses are those that carry the most substantial guidelines sentence, including mandatory minimum sentences.”
Under Sessions’ policy, prosecutors can still bring charges that aren’t the most serious ones possible, but that must be approved by a superior. The new version also removes Holder-era language that outlined circumstances when prosecutors should consider not pursuing charges that carry mandatory minimum sentences.
Minimum sentences are what prosecutors used to make life a hell for the Hammonds. The Hammonds and many other people, languish in prison due to the mandatory minimum sentences which are like a bear trap that, instead of trapping bears, traps innocent people and makes them suffer because of the minimum sentence.
Sessions Wants Greater Power For Prosecutors
Several sentences that broadly referred to limits on prosecutors’ power were removed from entries that otherwise stayed largely intact.
In a section titled “Principles of Federal Prosecution,” the preface was edited in February to remove this sentence: “The manner in which Federal prosecutors exercise their decision-making authority has far-reaching implications, both in terms of justice and effectiveness in law enforcement and in terms of the consequences for individual citizens.”
Sessions Doesn’t Like Freedom Of The Press Nor Public Trials
In the Buzzfeed article, it states, “A subsection titled “Need for Free Press and Public Trial” was removed entirely. That section, which was included in versions of the manual at least as far back as 1988, according to DOJ archives, read as follows:
“Likewise, careful weight must be given in each case to the constitutional requirements of a free press and public trials as well as the right of the people in a constitutional democracy to have access to information about the conduct of law enforcement officers, prosecutors and courts, consistent with the individual rights of the accused. Further, recognition should be given to the needs of public safety, the apprehension of fugitives, and the rights of the public to be informed on matters that can affect enactment or enforcement of public laws or the development or change of public policy.”
It goes on to say, “At a press conference in August, Sessions denounced leaks and announced that the department was reviewing its policies for subpoenaing reporters. Those policies had been adopted under former attorney general Eric Holder after revelations that federal investigators had gathered emails and phone records from journalists.”
Those of us who attended the trials, witnessed the oppressive opposition to public access to trials with many closed hearings. People with press credentials were often barred from attending the open hearings. The “behind closed doors” policy of the courts is bolstered by Sessions’ changes to the manual.
Sessions Likes Pleas Agreements
The article states, “In a subsection about entering into plea agreements when a defendant denies guilt, these sentences were taken out: “Such pleas are particularly undesirable when entered as part of an agreement with the government. Involvement by attorneys for the government in the inducement of guilty pleas by defendants who protest their innocence may create an appearance of prosecutorial overreaching.’”
We saw for ourselves, how plea agreements have unjustly affected defendants such as Jerry DeLemus, Bill Keebler, and several others.
Plea agreements are a result of a system that imprisons innocent defendants, prior to trial, wears them down emotionally and physically, and coerces them into signing the agreements to “get it over with”. How is this justice?
Among the many tools in the prosecutors torture tool bag, plea agreements are among the most sinister.
What Can We Do About It?
One of the most evil aspects of the revised prosecutor manual is that it was done without public oversight, without public input or public approval, underscoring once again, the enormous power of federal bureaucrats who have long forgotten the meaning of “public servant”.
What can be done about it?
- Wake other people up about these injustices. Bring the subject up at social gatherings, religious classes, and wherever and whenever you have the chance. You may be unpopular for bringing it up, but truth is often not popular. As the Bundys often say, “do what is right, let the consequences follow”.
- Meet personally with your elected representatives. Remind them what a pubic servant means. If your elected representatives act arrogant and stand offish with you, write about your experience in a letter to the editor or on social media. Send your letter about your bad experience to the elected representative.
- Get involved politically. The last thing that Ryan and Angie Bundy wanted to do is for Ryan to run for Nevada governor. Ryan lost two years of his life to unjust prosecutors and their judge co-workers. But Ryan knows that freedom is not free and that change starts with him and comes at a great cost. So, he is taking the time and energy to run for governor.
- Praying is good, but praying is not enough. Put your money and time into taking action. Pray that your actions and your involvement will prevent the kinds of injustices we have seen under the Obama administration, and seem to be getting worse under the Trump administration.
“That it is better that one hundred guilty persons escape
than that one innocent person suffer.” Benjamin Franklin
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