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Washington Letter October 2014


Featured Articles


New lawyer’s guide focuses on money laundering detection and prevention

The ABA, International Bar Association (IBA) and Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE) released a joint publication titled “A Lawyer’s Guide to Detecting and Preventing Money Laundering” during the IBA conference in Tokyo Oct. 22. “Money laundering and terrorist financing represent serious threats to life and society and result in violence, fuel further criminal activity, and threaten the foundations of the rule of law (in its broadest sense),” according to the guide.

Federal Government

Eric H. Holder Jr. announces resignation; will serve until successor is chosen

U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr., who has served as attorney general since the beginning of the Obama administration, announced Sept. 25 that he would leave his position as soon as a successor is confirmed by the Senate. In a statement delivered at the White House, Holder noted that the Obama administration “has made historic gains in realizing the principles of the founding documents and fought to protect the most sacred of American rights, the right to vote.” He also cited progress toward realizing the promise of equality for LGBT individuals, significant steps toward reforming the criminal justice system, and keeping “faith in our belief in the power of the greatest judicial system the world has ever known to fairly and effectively adjudicate any cases that are brought before it,” including those that involve the nation’s security.


ABA emphasizes need for more immigration judges

The ABA reiterated its concerns last month about the critical need for more immigration judges and support staff so the immigration courts are able to provide full, fair and timely adjudications. In a Sept. 9 letter to the Executive Office for Immigration Review (EOIR), the ABA responded to a request for comments on an interim rule that went into effect July 11 for designating one or more temporary immigration judges for renewable six-month terms.

Legislation & Lobbying

Reform weighed for civil asset forfeiture laws in light of abuse

A recent roundtable on Capitol Hill brought congressional staffers and representatives from an array of organizations, including the ABA, together to discuss ways to reform civil asset forfeiture practices that allow law enforcement agencies to seize property without due process. Current federal and state civil asset forfeiture laws, originally intended as a tool to combat drug crimes, authorize the seizing of property that law enforcement officials have probable cause to believe has been used in illegal activity without the owners of the property being charged with or convicted of a crime.

Civil Rights & Constitution

ABA commends Justice Department for new policy on waiving right to claim ineffective counsel

The ABA commended the Justice Department this month for a new policy announced Oct. 14 that will ensure that defendants who plead guilty will no longer be asked by U.S. attorneys to waive their right to claim that their attorney was ineffective. The policy was unveiled in a memorandum to all federal prosecutors from Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole, who stated that the policy “reaffirms the commitment by the department’s prosecutors to protecting the right to counsel and enhancing due process.”