It's increasingly clear that prosecutors have essentially unbounded discretion in deciding whom to charge in a case like this, and extraordinarily broad legal weapons to use against their chosen targets -- a troubling combination for anyone concerned with the rule of law.
My focus so far has been on the prosecution side of a FIFA-type case, and the issues relating to how the government secures the testimony it will use to build its case. There are equally controversial issues relating to the other side of such a case--the defendant's ability to present a defense.
The announcements that several defendants in the FIFA case have pled guilty and are cooperating with the government signaled that this case will showcase one of the most controversial aspects of the American justice system.
Because of the systematic distortions caused by the way the federal government builds FIFA-type cases, we'll never truly know with any confidence what really happened. That's a problem, and it's one of the government's own making.
It doesn't have to be this way. Although the First Amendment and the strong American free press tradition make it difficult to put limits on private media actors, the government doesn't have to pile on.
The recently announced case alleging corruption within FIFA, soccer's international governing body, will be prominently featured in the legal headlines in the coming months and years. That case comes at an opportune time for those interested in critiquing the American criminal justice system.
Basically two things happen in court -- people try to get someone else's money or the government tries to get someone's freedom. People taken to court are either at risk of losing cash or going to prison.
What Holder said today was that it's time for this outdated, expensive, and largely futile policy to end, or at least be severely curtailed. And that, indeed, is a giant rhetorical and philosophical leap forward.
Their colleagues didn't agree, and Calhoun's conviction stood. But Sotomayor and Breyer's rage at the bias simply pointed up what's long been noted in far too many federal cases, and in the action and behavior of far too many federal prosecutors.
The startling revelation last month of the death threat against my colleague Judge Joseph Biancoreminded me of the death threat made against me a few years ago by Anthony Casso, who went by the charming nickname "Gaspipe."
Early Wednesday morning, three women from two tony towns on the Connecticut shoreline received visitations at their homes by Federal Marshals. Each woman had been charged with multiple counts of defrauding the Internal Revenue Service, filing false tax returns and wire fraud.