justice-department-675The Project On Government Oversight published an extensive report yesterday revealing that Department of Justice has been concealing hundreds of ethical violations by its prosecutors.  Adding to this injustice, the Department refuses to identify the offending prosecutors or to inform defendants who have been affected by their misconduct.

In the majority of the matters—more than 400—OPR categorized the violations as being at the more severe end of the scale: recklessness or intentional misconduct, as distinct from error or poor judgment.

The information the Justice Department has disclosed is only part of the story. No less significant is what as a matter of policy it keeps from the public.

As a general practice, the Justice Department does not make public the names of attorneys who acted improperly or the defendants whose cases were affected. The result: the Department, its lawyers, and the internal watchdog office itself are insulated from meaningful public scrutiny and accountability.

We can say from our own experiences with the Department’s “Office of Professional Responsibility” that it is ineffective if not complicit. Legitimate grievances go ignored. Their primary expertise lies in circling the wagons and protecting the offenders. This report makes it all the more clear. There is no transparency, and consequently, the Department of Justice can be given no credibility. It is way overdue for a  major clean-up, and as Judge Kozinski, and the Washington Post and others have said recently, it is time for a national discussion of these issues crucial to the administration of justice–if there is to be any justice at all.