May 07, 2012 3:05:16 PM by
John Emshwiller and Gary Fields of The Wall Street Journal have been producing a series of front-page stories about overcriminalization in the United States, with a focus on vague and overbroad statutes, especially federal statutes. Their stories have highlighted an unfortunate basic fact about living in this country: the Department of Justice has an unconscionable number of laws at its disposal, and they know how to use and abuse them to target the innocent – many of the same themes I’ve covered in my “Injustice Department” series on forbes.com.
But in one of their recent articles about the DOJ’s practice of bringing “false statements” prosecutions, they failed to discuss the most important—and most pernicious—aspect of the feds’ use and abuse of the false statement statute. These false statements prosecutions must be understood in conjunction with the FBI’s deliberate policy not to record their interrogations and interviews of targets and of witnesses, and to instead rely on agents’ “Form 302” reports to supposedly document interviews. The result is a truly corrupting and terrifying combination, and helps to explain the problem Emshwiller and Fields highlight.
You can find a link to our article here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/harveysilverglate/2012/04/18/what-the-wall-street-journal-missed-about-false-statements-made-to-the-fbi/