Justice Goes After the GOP

My views on the Holder Justice Department’s ill-considered recent displays of prosecutorial overzeal and worse are set forth in my latest piece for the Wall Street Journal.

As always, I’d appreciate your feedback on the topic at hand and encourage you to either post a comment directly below the column on the WSJ’s website, or reach me directly at has@harveysilverglate.com. If you’d like to write a Letter to the Editor in response to my column, you can email wsj.ltrs@wsj.com.

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A Ruling on Terrorism That Throttles Civil Liberties

On November 13th the United States Court of Appeals in Boston affirmed the conviction of young Sudbury pharmacology student Tarek Mehanna. Mehanna was convicted on charges of rendering “material support” to terrorism – a dangerously broad and vague provision of the Patriot Act – though nothing Mehanna did came close to posing actual danger. In our op-ed for the Boston Globe, my paralegal Juliana DeVries and I argue that the tragic Mehanna verdict was made possible by the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Humanitarian Law Project v. Holder. The Humanitarian Law Project decision opened the door for federal prosecutors to criminalize a wide range of previously protected expressive activities, such as those in which Mehanna engaged.

 

You can read our op-ed at: http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2013/11/27/ruling-terrorism-that-throttles-civil-liberties/LXmml8hiFCkugBmvmYEt5J/story.html
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Civilization and Its Discontents: Burying the Boston Marathon Bomber

Americans conceive of our struggle against terrorism as an us-versus-them battle between our civilization and those who would seek to destroy it. But the recent controversy over the burial of Tamerlan Tsarnaev shows that our civilization can also fall victim to our own sometimes brutish impulses.

My latest column for Forbes.com, co-authored with my research assistant Zachary Bloom, addresses the ethical obligations that we as a civilized society must remember to obey in the wake of terrorist attacks. You can find it on my “Injustice Department” blog.

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Beware the FBI when it is not recording

Civil libertarians are used to sounding the alarm about pervasive government surveillance in the era of cellphones, drones and the Internet. But, as alleged Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev’s classmate Robel Phillipos is now discovering, an equal threat to liberty is the FBI policy forbidding recording of interviews.

My latest column, which ran in this Saturday’s (May 11th) Boston Globe, explains the danger faced by witnesses and defendants who talk to the FBI. You can find it on the Globe’s website.

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O’Brien indictment: the sausage factory and the democratic process

Former Probation Department Commissioner John O’Brien was recently federally indicted for bribery and racketeering, after a series of Boston Globe stories and an official investigation showed that the probation department under O’Brien was giving preferential treatment to job candidates recommended by legislators and some judges in exchange for favorable treatment by the legislature in budgetary decisions. In my most recent column for Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly, coauthored with my friend and former law partner, Judge Nancy Gertner, we argue that, though the Probation Department’s hiring practices were not crimes under the present federal criminal code. It would be hard to find a government official who would not be subject to prosecution under such a large and nebulous definition of “corruption” and “fraudulent pretenses” as the U.S. Attorney describes in the O’Brien indictment.

The column after the jump...

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Updates related to Harvey's
book Three Felonies a Day, a critical
take on the Justice Department

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