The National Law Journal’s Joe Palazzolo has published more details from Attorney General Eric Holder’s remarks federal judges at a meeting in Washington on April 21. The gathering was closed to the press. Holder addressed concerns that the Office of Professional Responsibility, the DOJ’s internal ethics watchdog which hasn’t issued a public report on its activities in four years, has become a black hole.
Holder said his new choice to head the ethics office, Mary Patrice Brown, a veteran of the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia, would shake things up. Brown’s appointment was announced a day after U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan dismissed an indictment against former Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and ordered his own investigation into whether prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence, saying he didn’t have much faith in OPR. One judge who spoked to Palazollo on conditon of anonymity said of Brown: ”She sounds like she’s really a ball of fire.”
Holder also said Deputy Attorney General David Ogden would chair a working group to examine federal sentencing and corrections policy, Palazzolo reports. Judges had complained about disparities in leniency shown to defendants who cooperate with government investigations, with some districts granting more substantial sentence reductions than others.