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An Embarrassment Of Hitches

bathtub.jpgMore proof that conservative ideology results in bad government for everyone.  Law and order party, my ass.  To wit:

One of the most pressing, according to dozens of current and former federal prosecutors, is a budget squeeze at U.S. attorneys’ offices that has led to declines in crime prosecutions and delays in major investigations.

In the past few years, U.S. attorneys’ offices around the country have been unable to fill vacancies. Lawyers sometimes can’t travel to interview witnesses. Even funds for basic office needs such as photocopying documents and obtaining deposition transcripts have been cut, according to current and former officials….

Department of Justice data show the impact. Prosecutions are down overall, with large drops in categories such as drugs, violent crime and white-collar offenses….

People familiar with the matter say the then-Republican-controlled Congress was mainly responsible for the small increases in the budget for U.S. attorneys. Priorities set by the Justice Department also played a role. The department hired additional Federal Bureau of Investigation agents to fight terrorism but didn’t push for U.S. attorneys’ offices to get big increases, they say.

In written answers to questions, the Justice Department confirmed that “budget constraints have affected operations” in the U.S. attorneys’ offices and have had an impact on the numbers of cases brought. But it said the offices “continue to pursue cases in these priority areas where federal prosecution is appropriate.” The department also noted that Congress this year provided funding to restore some earlier cuts.

Some prosecutors say the impact has been largest in big cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, Miami and San Diego, which have the heaviest case loads and plenty of private law firms able to offer generous salaries.

In Los Angeles, a federal criminal investigation of Rep. Jerry Lewis, a California Republican, stalled for nearly six months due to a lack of funds, according to former prosecutors….

As Laura Rozen points out, counsel for Rep. Lewis is none other than Ted Olson, rumored to be in consideration for the AG opening at the moment. And Mr. Lewis’ spokesperson? None other than Barbara Comstock. It’s an embarassment of hitches, isn’t it?

(Photo of a big bathtub via JHill.  Think this is what Grover had in mind?  H/T to reader WB for the WSJ link.  The WSJ law blog has a few more nuggets as well.)

PS — Do check out this great compilation of labor links from Maha.  Good stuff.

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Christy Hardin Smith

Christy Hardin Smith

Christy is a "recovering" attorney, who earned her undergraduate degree at Smith College, in American Studies and Government, concentrating in American Foreign Policy. She then went on to graduate studies at the University of Pennsylvania in the field of political science and international relations/security studies, before attending law school at the College of Law at West Virginia University, where she was Associate Editor of the Law Review. Christy was a partner in her own firm for several years, where she practiced in a number of areas including criminal defense, child abuse and neglect representation, domestic law, civil litigation, and she was an attorney for a small municipality, before switching hats to become a state prosecutor. Christy has extensive trial experience, and has worked for years both in and out of the court system to improve the lives of at risk children.

Email: reddhedd AT firedoglake DOT com

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