Recent headlines make a strong case for the idea that the U.S. justice system is a corrupt conviction machine that seeks to win at all costs – even if it means acting illegally or trampling constitutional rights.
Concerns about the politicization and weaponization of the Department of Justice have been raised on both sides of the aisle as we await the final outcome of the Mueller report.The injustices perpetrated by corrupt government officials are more widely apparent now than ever before, with a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University poll revealing that most Americans agree President Trump has been the victim of a “witch hunt.”
It is clear that the DOJ has been weaponized to such a degree, and for so many years, it can no longer be trusted to carry out justice.
The truth is that America leads the world in sending its own citizens to prison. Even communist countries like China, Russia, and North Korea can’t compete with the over two million people locked away in the U.S. Furthermore, widespread corruption in the DOJ has led to an unprecedented rise in federal conviction rates over the last 30 years. In 1972, the conviction rate was 75 percent; in 1982, it was up to 85 percent, and by 2012, the conviction rate had soared to over 93 percent.
These statistics underscore research done by Pulitzer Prize-winning author James B. Stewart in his book Tangled Web,which reveals a “perjury epidemic” within the DOJ.
In a similarly clear-cut case of DOJ corruption, former Republican Congressman Rick Renzi from Arizona was facing criminal charges, but was adamant about his innocence in 2013. Shortly before his trial, he was offered what would have amounted to nine months in prison if he would plead guilty to just one felony count. When he refused, Renzi was grossly overcharged with 49 felonies.
During Renzi’s trial, the DOJ used many of the same illicit tactics they used against President Donald Trump – including a fake dossier, illegal wiretapping, and leaks of the grand jury investigation in order to drive public opinion. The DOJ also offered a pay-off to a key witness against Renzi in order to elicit testimony that fit the fabricated dossier and the false FBI narrative. Later evidence revealed that prosecutors persuaded two witnesses in Renzi’s case to knowingly make false statements in both the grand jury and trial proceedings.
As public awareness increases around politically biased attacks on President Trump and other prominent figures, many in our nation are learning for the first time just how broken and corrupt our justice system is. Federal prosecutors can, in a sense, become lords of their own kingdoms – remaining untouchable and above the law without strong oversight by the Inspector General and the Office of Professional Responsibility. New congressional legislation would put the OPR on par with the IG officeand make it an independent organization that no longer answers to the DOJ, where thee agency is currently able to hide the names of prosecutors who’ve committed corrupt and illegal acts.
Innocent people are targeted and sometimes go to prison here in America – the supposed land of the free and home of the brave. Their families, livelihoods and loved ones often become casualties along the way. Having experienced injustice at the hands of corrupt political agents within the FBI and DOJ, Renzi decided to found Abuse of Power in 2018, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping victims of government oppression and political targeting.
The unchecked corruption within our justice system degrades the common good and harms public trust. It destroys not only the reputation but also the true function of the DOJ. In the absence of consequences for corrupt DOJ officials and their illegal tactics, federal prosecutors will continue to trample the constitutional, civil and human rights of U.S. citizens.
In the face of widespread DOJ corruption evident around the Mueller report and confirmed by a myriad of other sources, it is clear we must do better. We the people must demand accountability from the FBI and DOJ if we hope to ensure liberty and justice for all.
Jeannie Finnegan is Vice President of Institutional Advancement. This article is also available at http://www.intellectualconservative.com/