Jun 27, 2017

exe07_chickenshit-e1498656728687The “chickenshit club” is the name former FBI director James Comey, back when he was a U.S. Attorney, bestowed on prosecutors who had never lost in court. The epithet implied that such lawyers lacked the tenacity and courage to roll the dice on tough cases and stick their neck out if they believed someone had broken the law.

“In 2002, long before he became the most famous director of the FBI since J Edgar Hoover, James Comey, then the US attorney in Manhattan, issued a warning to the young lawyers on his staff. Do not join “the Chickenshit Club”, he said, meaning the prosecutors who only brought to trial cases they felt certain to win. Playing it safe, Comey said, was not justice. It was, to use the technical term, chickenshit.” ~David J. Lynch, June 28, 2017

Today, everyone is in the Chickenshit Club. That’s the conclusion of journalist Jesse Eisinger, who uses the phrase to title his investigation into a recent mystery of the criminal justice system: Why does the Justice Department appear to have given up on putting white-collar criminals in jail?

The book offers an edifying tour of a century of white-collar crime—what Al Capone called “the legitimate rackets.” A recurrent theme is that the government is terrible at prosecuting it and always has been. “There has never been a golden age of white-collar prosecutions,” Eisinger writes. ~From “Bloomberg Persuits”

To read the rest of the article on what Eisinger sees as “the clubby culture that has emerged between the top levels of the Justice Department and white-collar defense lawyers… at a time when so many people struggle to obtain basic procedural rights in the criminal justice system”, click here.