In 1975, the Office of Professional Responsibility (OPR) was created to investigate allegations of misconduct by lawyers working for the Department of Justice. But because the OPR reports to the Attorney General instead of the Inspector General, there are inherent conflicts of interest in the oversight of such cases. A report by the Project On Government Oversight found that over the last decade, hundreds of federal prosecutors and other Justice employees violated rules, laws, or ethical standards governing their work. Yet, very few have ever been publicly identified.
More transparency and a shift in oversight is required when the Office of Professional Responsibility investigates attorney misconduct. Sign the petition to send a message to Attorney General Eric Holder in an effort to bring back public accountability to the OPR.
Photo Credit: Noah Berger/Reuters
To: Attorney General Holder
When Aaron Swartz accessed MIT’s computer network to download a large number of publicly accessible research documents from JSTOR, a non-profit that hosts academic journal articles, US prosecutors charged him with crimes punishable by up to 50+ years in prison and fines of almost $4 million. His two-year legal nightmare ended with the taking of his own life at the age of 26.
Aaron’s life is an example of why we must have greater accountability when there are allegations of attorney misconduct. To ensure that justice is served, we encourage you to increase transparency with the OPR’s disclosure policy, empower the DOJ Office of Inspector General to investigate misconduct by overseeing the OPR, and require the OPR to report misconduct to relevant state bar authorities. These actions will establish greater public confidence in prosecutorial accountability.
[Your name here]
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