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> "We were just following orders" and "We were just doing our jobs" and "We were doing what the law told us to do" aren't the indefensible moral positions you seem to think they are.

Careful; that's a double-edged sword. Would you prefer that individual prosecutors have the authority to ignore the law? That didn't work too well in the pre-civil-rights South, when lynchings went unprosecuted.

It's far better to have a government of laws and not a government of men; then you can assign responsibility where it belongs, with the people who write the laws.




>It's far better to have a government of laws and not a government of men

Who do you think decided to tell JSTOR to shove it and prosecute him anyway under a federal computer crimes act? All prosecution is political and white collar crimes doubly so. Men decide to be vindictive, men decide which laws, and the men who prosecute knowing it takes millions of dollars to successful defend from a false accusation from the federal government.

We don't live under laws. We live under men. There's no politically neutral AI calling the shots. Its people trying to get promotions and making names for themselves and who knows what other motivations. The selfless prosecutor exists only in movies and TV.

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All prosecution is political and white collar crimes doubly so.

No, all laws are political. Enforcement of the law, especiallly at the federal level, is apolitical. White collar crimes are not special; indeed, white collar crimes are by far the worst types of crimes because they strike directly at the foundation of the system itself (i.e., trust).

There's no politically neutral AI calling the shots.

Exactly. Letting prosecutors pick and choose which statutes they enforce would make prosecution political. This is what happened in the South for 100 years when blacks were prosecuted aggressively and white defendants were not (especially in cases with black victims). It's also the reason why prosecutors at the federal level generally do not have discretionary authority to decide what crimes they will enforce absent a presidential directive or a directive from the head of their agency.

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> Enforcement of the law, especiallly at the federal level, is apolitical.

Pull the other one now.

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No, no, no. The point of an AG is to act as a first line to determine which cases are worth pursuing and which are not. They absolutely are granted and should exercise frequently the right to not prosecute!

I have had several friends prosecuted for trumped up nonsense that should have been slap-on-the-wrist misdemeanors at the most.

I would prefer to see an AG exercise their privilege to not prosecute in cases where, even assuming the facts in the complaint are true, it is unclear that a crime has been committed. Particularly where there is no individual who has been harmed.

"Tough on Crime" is a messed up way to operate a justice system. "Fair on Crime" should be the standard we hold our officials to.

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  It's also the reason why prosecutors at the federal level 
  generally do not have discretionary authority
"The USA [US Attorney] is invested by statute and delegation from the Attorney General with the broadest discretion in the exercise of such authority."

http://www.justice.gov/usao/eousa/foia_reading_room/usam/tit...

  The United States Attorney, within his/her district, has 
  plenary authority with regard to federal criminal matters. 
  This authority is exercised under the supervision and 
  direction of the Attorney General and his/her delegates.

  The statutory duty to prosecute for all offenses against 
  the United States (28 U.S.C. ยง 547) carries with it the 
  authority necessary to perform this duty. The USA is 
  invested by statute and delegation from the Attorney 
  General with the broadest discretion in the exercise of 
  such authority.

  The authority, discretionary power, and responsibilities of 
  the United States Attorney with relation to criminal 
  matters encompass without limitation by enumeration the 
  following:

  Investigating suspected or alleged offenses against the 
  United States, see USAM 9-2.010;

  Causing investigations to be conducted by the appropriate 
  federal law enforcement agencies, see USAM 9-2.010;

  Declining prosecution, see USAM 9-2.020;

  Authorizing prosecution, see USAM 9-2.030;

  Determining the manner of prosecuting and deciding trial 
  related questions;

  Recommending whether to appeal or not to appeal from an 
  adverse ruling or decision, see USAM 9-2.170;

  Dismissing prosecutions, see USAM 9-2.050; and

  Handling civil matters related thereto which are under the 
  supervision of the Criminal Division.

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You don't think individual prosecutors don't already ignore the law? Selective prosecution happens all the time.

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