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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Climbing the Ladder to Steven A. Cohen

I was struck recently by a page-one story in the Wall Street Journal about the latest arrest in the Department of Justice’s ongoing investigation of alleged insider trading at SAC Capital, a prominent hedge fund. So far six people have pleaded guilty or been convicted, and four have agreed to “cooperate.” It is the meaning of “cooperation” that is at the heart of my opinion piece.

 

You will find my column in today’s paper on the “Opinion” page, or on the Wall Street Journal’s website.
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"A Doctor's Posthumous Vindication" in the Wall Street Journal

On December 3, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled in favor of Al Caronia, a pharmaceutical salesman who had been convicted of violating the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act by pitching the off-label uses of a narcolepsy drug to doctors at conferences throughout the country. Declaring that the Department of Justice’s overly broad interpretation of the law violated Caronia’s free speech rights, the Court vindicated a practice that has become commonplace among physicians.

Doctors such as Peter Gleason, Caronia’s former codefendant, learn through their experiences with patients that many drugs turn out to be effective treatments for ailments other than those for which the FDA has granted official approval. And physicians have a well-established right to prescribe any drug for any use they see fit and to share their insights about effective treatments with other doctors. So it came as quite a surprise to Dr. Gleason when he was arrested by a half-dozen federal agents one day in 2006 and sent down the rabbit hole of the federal criminal justice system for allegedly conspiring to mislead his fellow physicians. I discussed Dr. Gleason’s unjust prosecution in my book Three Felonies a Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent (Encounter Books, 2009). My latest piece for the Wall Street Journal serves as a postscript for that discussion, explaining how the Second Circuit’s ruling vindicated Dr. Gleason’s belief that he had never engaged in any improper activity – vindication that, tragically, came too late.

You can find the piece on the Journal's website.
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Gibson Is Off the Feds' Hook. Who's Next?

On July 30, I wrote a piece on my “Injustice Department” blog on Forbes.com discussing the narrow-mindedness of the Gibson Guitar Company CEO’s claim in a Wall Street Journal op-ed that the United States Justice Department is waging a war against capitalism. It is a war, I suggested, against many sectors of civil society.

Since that piece went up, Gibson Guitar has entered into a deal with the DOJ in which it sort-of admits guilt to alleged violations of the Lacey Act, pays a whopping fine, and will emerge without a criminal conviction in the end. Gibson took this step even though the company and its CEO earlier had publicly proclaimed their innocence. My latest piece, published in today’s Wall Street Journal, explains how corrupt plea-bargaining practices at the Department of Justice, as opposed to actual guilt, likely led to Gibson’s guilty plea and, most disturbingly, to its agreement to stick to a negotiated script with regard to the question of guilt versus innocence. As is increasingly true at the Department of Justice – via a process that has been gaining momentum since at least the mid-1980s – there is no longer a principled and discernible line between truth and falsehood.


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To the CEO of Gibson Guitar: It's Not Just a War Against Capitalism

On July 19, there appeared in the Wall Street Journal an interesting Op-Ed by Henry Juszkiewicz, the CEO of Gibson Guitar, claiming that a raid on his company’s facilities by federal agents is representative of a greater “war against capitalism.” Yet as my co-author Zachary Bloom and I argue in our latest piece for my Forbes.com blog, “Injustice Department,” Juszkiewicz’s Op-Ed suffers for being too narrow and self-focused. In reality, the raid on Gibson’s facilities is less representative of a war on capitalism than of a war on all of civil society, being waged by an out-of-control U.S. Department of Justice wielding vague laws passed by a Congress that clearly does not understand the consequences of its legislative actions, and regulations enacted by administrative agencies drunk with their own powers.

The article 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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