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I Sent A Letter to Eric Holder & John Durham Today Asking Why No One Has Been Prosecuted For Destroying the Torture Tapes

Y’all know me by my screen name, which is Mason. I decided to write the following letter after reading bmaz’s excellent letter.

Now y’all know my real name, which I have no reason to hide. I omitted my address below just in case some crazy person reads this and decides to grab his fifteen minutes of fame at my expense. I did not omit my address in the original letter. There is one other difference. The salutation and first sentence is tailored to each of the four listed addressees.

I emailed the letter to each of the four addressees between 1:45 pm and 2 pm EDT and will advise if I receive a response.

Fred [Mason]

Frederick D. Leatherman, Jr.
Professor of Law
[Address Omitted]

November 5, 2010

SENT VIA EMAIL

Mr. Eric H. Holder, Jr.
Attorney General of the United States
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Mr. John Durham
First Assistant United States Attorney
District of Connecticut
450 Main Street
Room 328
Hartford, CT 06103

Ms. Tracy Schmaler
Deputy Director
Office of Public Affairs
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Mr. Dean Boyd
Public Affairs Specialist
Office of Public Affairs
United States Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001

Dear Mr. Attorney General Holder,

The five-year statute of limitations, within which to initiate a prosecution against a person who intentionally destroyed CIA tape recordings of individuals who were being tortured by U.S. officials while in U.S. custody, expires on Monday, November 8, 2010. As a retired law professor, former criminal defense attorney, and defender of the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and the Rule of Law for more than thirty years, I am extremely concerned by the absence of an indictment or complaint charging anyone with destroying the 92 missing tapes and the absence of any official explanation regarding why.

I should not have to remind or explain to anyone at the Department of Justice that “looking forward, not backward,” is a political policy and not a rule of law. I am not alone when I characterize the policy as an intentional obstruction of justice by concealing evidence of a crime, which is the same crime, by the way, that was committed by the person or persons who destroyed the tapes. As you well know, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to obstruct justice are federal felonies and impeachable offenses.

The Department of Justice’s silence is deafening. I cannot think of any reason why the department has not indicted anyone yet or officially announced why it decided against seeking an indictment. Under the circumstances, I cannot imagine that a grand jury would have refused to return an indictment, so what is going on?

A little over 60 years ago, Justice Jackson of the United States Supreme Court prosecuted and convicted German officials for war crimes, including torture, and crimes against humanity. He did not “look forward, not backward,” to avoid his responsibility to uphold the rule of law. He accepted the responsibility and so should the Department of Justice.

Sincerely,

____________________________
Frederick D. Leatherman, Jr.
Professor of Law

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Frederick Leatherman

Frederick Leatherman

I am a former law professor and felony criminal defense lawyer who practiced in state and federal courts for 30 years specializing in death penalty cases, forensics, and drug cases.

I taught criminal law, criminal procedure, law and forensics, and trial advocacy for three years after retiring from my law practice.

I also co-founded Innocence Project Northwest (IPNW) at the University of Washington School of Law in Seattle and recruited 40 lawyers who agreed to work pro bono, assisted by law students, representing 17 innocent men and women wrongfully convicted of sexually abusing their children in the notorious Wenatchee Sex Ring witch-hunt prosecutions during the mid 90s. All 17 were freed from imprisonment.

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