Citizen action to reform abuses in political and other arbitrary prosecutions is the topic of an American University forum that I’ll join March 25, entitled: “Just Justice: Political Actions by the Department of Justice.”
The two-hour session beginning at 5:30 p.m. features victims and independent experts describing how the public is hurt by politically motivated prosecutions against public officials on the local, state and national levels. The forum is located in Ward Hall 2. It’s free and open to the public.
I’ll describe why the public needs to energize their media surrogates to provide more oversight on Justice Department (DOJ) decision-making because of failures of courts and Congress. I’m summarizing government misconduct in DOJ prosecutions of Republican former New York Police Commissioner Bernard Kerik and Democratic former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman that I documented in Harvard University’s Nieman Watchdog:
- Feds Bullied Kerik Into 4-Year Term, Hurting Us All (Feb. 19, 2010) http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=background.view&backgroundid=00432
- Covering Prosecutors Calls For Tough-Minded Reporters (Oct. 18, 2009) http://www.niemanwatchdog.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=background.view&backgroundid=00406
Another speaker will be University of Missouri Professor Donald C. Shields, who undertook the pioneering research that indicated the Bush Justice Department prosecuted Democrats at a 7:1 ratio in official corruption investigations during its first seven years.
He’ll provide an update on his more recent research covering the full eight years of the administration, including that regarding racial patterns.
His research includes 2007 testimony (below) before the House Judiciary Committee illustrating problems revealed by hundreds of cases across the nation. Their targets had scant understanding of the parallels to their cases elsewhere until his research and a documentary film released last year by Project Save Justice, which was researched by its Vice President Gail Sistrunk and noted filmmaker John McTiernan, whose credits include Die Hard and The Hunt for Red October. A sample of the Shields research is:
- House Testimony: Allegations of Selective Prosecution: Erosion of Public Confidence In Our Federal Justice System (Oct. 23, 2007) http://judiciary.house.gov/hearings/pdf/Shields071023.pdf
Here’s some additional background from a press release. We need more events like this around the country, and this is a good start! Contact me if you have ideas for a similar program in your area, and can help make it happen.
About Prof. Donald C. Shields
Donald C. Shields (Ph.D., University of Minnesota, 1974) is Professor Emeritus, Department of Communication, University of Missouri—St. Louis. He currently serves as a Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies, University of Missouri—Kansas City. His primary line of research has investigated symbolic convergence theory and communication. He has authored or co-authored 10 books and more than 35 book chapters, and more than a dozen of his studies have been reprinted in other books and journals.
About Andrew Kreig and Justice Integrity Project
Andrew Kreig is an attorney, author and commentator listed in Who’s Who in the World since the mid-1990s. As president of the Wireless Communications Association International for 12 years, he helped lead the advance of the broadband wireless industry worldwide. He founded the Justice Integrity Project as a non-partisan organization to examine misconduct by federal prosecutors and judges ─ and the consequences for the public. Details. # # #