Opinion | What confusion over Michael Cohen's early release suggests about the DOJ

Source: NBC News - View Original Article
Published: Apr 29, 2020
Category:
Bias Rating:

84% Liberal


Bias Score Calculation:


Policies:

Welfare

Sentiments

97% "That is an awesome, weighty responsibility.""
95% "Barr and the Justice Department's release policy pivots certainly aren't helping.""
94% "Shifting and changing inmate release policies have caused widespread confusion.""
93% "When I was a federal prosecutor, everything I did in court reflected the position of the U.S. government.""
92% "Just as important, countless other inmates who are not rich, famous or influential are also seeking early release.""
91% "Wardens and other government officials involved in these decisions must balance multiple public safety priorities.""
84% "In other words, this situation is hard enough without the Justice Department's ever-changing policies making everything more complicated.""

We have listed the top 10 sentiments. More sentiments do exist. Please review the full article for more information.



*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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Contributing sentiments towards policy:

97% : That is an awesome, weighty responsibility.
95% : Barr and the Justice Department's release policy pivots certainly aren't helping.
94% : Shifting and changing inmate release policies have caused widespread confusion.
93% : Cohen's pending release had already raised several important questions about the criminal justice system and how it is working.
93% : When I was a federal prosecutor, everything I did in court reflected the position of the U.S. government.
92% : Many other high-profile inmates are also requesting early release, including the rich, the famous, the infamous and the connected: Michael Avenatti, Bernie Madoff, R. Kelly, Bill Cosby and others.
92% : Just as important, countless other inmates who are not rich, famous or influential are also seeking early release.
91% : Wardens and other government officials involved in these decisions must balance multiple public safety priorities.
84% : That conduct by Barr prompted my former colleague Jonathan Kravis, one of the lead prosecutors on the Stone case, to immediately resign from the federal government.
84% : In other words, this situation is hard enough without the Justice Department's ever-changing policies making everything more complicated.
84% : We must demand that our public officials act out of a sense of the health and welfare of the inmates in their custody, as well as the public at large, without favoritism to the famous, especially at a time when confidence in our governmental institutions isn't exactly at its zenith.
83% : (Manafort still has over seven years left on his sentence.)
82% : Inmates across the country are seeking early release in hope of avoiding contracting the virus in their detention facilities.
82% : The institutional flip-flopping is unfair to the inmates and their families, and it undermines the public's confidence in our government's ability to make difficult decisions in times of crisis.
82% : In another federal case, a judge ordered prosecutors to explain their release policy after an inmate was told one day that he would be released, only to be told the next day that the Bureau of Prisons had reversed course.
77% : " The pronouncements, which are amply supported by the evidence of record, deeply damage the Justice Department, damage every federal prosecutor in every court in the land and damage our chances of litigation success on behalf of the American people.
76% : The decisions affect not only inmates and their families, but also the victims of the inmates' crimes and the community generally.
71% : Still, history has shown us that notoriety and connections can affect governmental decisions in any number of ways.
69% : To be sure, federal, state and local officials are struggling to deal with coronavirus outbreaks in prisons, recognizing that such outbreaks endanger inmates and prison staff alike.
67% : But then last week Politico reported that, in fact, many of the prisoners who had been told they could go home were being sent back to their cells.
66% : The lack of a clear, common-sense Justice Department/Bureau of Prisons policy prompted one federal judge to sternly rebuke the government, saying the procedures were "illogical" and "kafkaesque."
66% : This was an enormous loss to the American people, as Kravis is one of the country's premier public corruption prosecutors.
64% : Absent governmental transparency
64% : , it's impossible to discern in real time whether any form of favoritism is at play for high-profile federal inmates.
63% : Barr's office may have made the decision, but it was the prosecutors who took the judicial beating.
61% : Avenatti, for example, will be spending the next few months in home detention, heading to the upscale home of a friend in the Venice Beach neighborhood of Los Angeles.
52% : I was in court for the Stone sentencing and watched Judge Amy Berman Jackson aggressively cross-examine another former colleague, Assistant U.S. Attorney John Crabb, who had to step into the Stone prosecution after all three prosecutors quit the case.
51% : Attorney General William Barr originally directed the Bureau of Prisons to assess the propriety of releasing certain high-risk inmates serving time in "hot spot" prisons.
50% : (He has since joined the D.C. attorney general's office as a "special counsel for public corruption.")
44% : And it was painful to watch.
43% : By Glenn Kirschner, former assistant U.S. attorney for the District of Columbia and NBC/MSNBC legal analyst Just as it affects us all, the coronavirus is affecting our nation's prison population.
42% : Now, Politico reports that the Bureau of Prisons guidance has been revised to include prisoners who have served at least 25 percent of their sentences and who have less than 18 months remaining on their terms.
41% : Difficult decisions though they may be, we must examine whether the government is acting fairly, responsibly and without favoritism or prejudice in process or practice.
40% : We should remain vigilant to make sure government officials don't use our national health emergency as a smokescreen to dole out preferential treatment to high-profile, influential or connected inmates.
37% : Otisville houses about 800 inmates.
35% : That alone raises questions about why the former lawyer might have been selected for early release.
34% : Notably, FCI Otisville, where Cohen was imprisoned, is not one of those prisons.
33% : But Barr has made that job beyond difficult for the country's approximately 2,300 federal prosecutors.
32% : Recent reporting indicates that at least 14 inmates and seven staff members have tested positive for the coronavirus.
32% : Simply put, the Bureau of Prisons flip-flops are yet another example of Barr's lack of leadership and a sign of a Justice Department in free fall.
30% : (FOIA attorneys, if you're listening ...)
28% : In another sign of a Justice Department in crisis, U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton of Washington, D.C., recently authored a scathing opinion in a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) case regarding redactions in special counsel Robert Mueller's report, saying Barr tried to "spin" the report and "mischaracterized" its findings before topping off his criticism by saying Barr "lacked candor.
27% : The next day, Barr made prosecutors dramatically lighten their sentencing recommendation.
21% : That means Cohen would likely still qualify for early release, but other high-profile applicants like Paul Manafort wouldn't qualify.
21% : It's axiomatic that the rich, the powerful and the privileged generally fare far better in the criminal justice system than the poor, the powerless and the underprivileged.
17% : Earlier in April, we learned that Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump's former attorney and self-described "fixer," is supposed to be released from prison early as a result of a coronavirus outbreak in Otisville, New York, where he is serving his sentence.
17% : Recall the Roger Stone case: The career prosecutors in that case filed a sentencing recommendation.
16% : Jackson demanded to know why the government had changed its sentencing recommendation.
4% : Thereafter, Trump tweeted that the sentencing recommendation was "horrible and very unfair" and said he would not allow "this miscarriage of justice!"

*Our bias meter rating uses data science including sentiment analysis, machine learning and our proprietary algorithm for determining biases in news articles. The rating is an independent analysis and is not affiliated nor sponsored by the news source or any other organization

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