"Reining in Federal Prosecutors" by Mona Lynch

In Defense of Prosecutions of Drug Cases

June 5, 2015

To the Editor:

Mona Lynch's June 2 Op-Ed essay, "Reining In Federal Prosecutors," alleging that federal prosecutors are abusing the criminal justice system along with the not-so-thinly veiled accusation that they are racist, is offensive to the approximately 5,400 federal prosecutors who faithfully serve the people of the United States.

Ms. Lynch claims that "while research shows that illicit drug use and distribution is generally proportionate to the racial makeup of the nation's population, black people are overrepresented as drug defendants in federal courts." (Emphasis added.) But the proportion of the population using illicit drugs is irrelevant: The focus of virtually all federal drug prosecutorial efforts is the trafficking of large quantities of dangerous drugs.

The underlying premise of Ms. Lynch's claim — that federal prosecutors don't zealously pursue non-African-American large-scale drug traffickers — is preposterous. The truth is that high-level drug trafficking is not committed by any carefully sculpted group that mirrors the nation's demographics in terms of age, gender or race. This is a phenomenon that prosecutors did not create and cannot ignore under their responsibility to enforce the law.

The commentary also focuses on a crack cocaine trafficker who was caught, refused to accept responsibility for his criminal conduct, was convicted by a jury and was sentenced to imprisonment under the applicable law. Ms. Lynch gives a defense-slanted view of the facts, and by refraining from identifying the offender, she has deprived Times readers of the ability to review all of the facts in the record of the public trial or sentencing proceeding.

President, National Association of Assistant United States Attorneys
Woodbridge, Va.


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