Still Pissed Off About the Hawley-Smoot Tariff

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Reported Cases by U.S. Attorney in Pennsylvania

Jack M. criticizes an article he found on Reason, attacking the Bush justice department in general and U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan. This post is a follow-up on some research into Buchanan prosecutions based on a Westlaw search. I've broken these down by year, because I think a more accurate picture emerges that way.

Health care fraud – 1
Immigration and deportation – 33
Drugs – 2
Interstate transportation of stolen goods – 1
Criminal contempt – 1
Transportation of illegal alien – 1
Weapons offenses, witness tampering – 1
Carjacking, felon with a firearm, use of firearm in federal offense – 1
Bank robbery –1
Mail fraud, copyright infringement – 1
Fair Housing Act – 1
Arson – 1
Wire fraud – 1
Possession of machine gun – 1
Civil conspiracy – 1
Habeas corpus – 1
Damages against federal government – 1
Sentencing – 1
Gender discrimination – 1

The obvious outlier here are the immigration cases. To the extent the author of the Reason article thinks the feds are spending too much time on drugs and not enough time on terrorism, I'd say the government's efforts to expel people who shouldn't be here (undoubtedly part of national security) speak for themselves.

Habeas corpus – 1
Employment discrimination – 2
Distribution of obscene materials – 1
Immigration – 3
Bank fraud – 1
Arson – 1
Securities fraud, false tax return – 1

Not a single drug case. The Reason article criticizes the obscenity prosecution, based on the Justice Department's announced intention to prosecute these cases. The case was dismissed at the district court level, and you'll note the U.S. Attorney didn't try again after the 3d Ciruit found the statute unconstitutional.

bank fraud – 1
drugs – 5
false claim – 1
possession of homemade bomb – 1
interstate transportation of minor for criminal sexual activity – 1
fraudulent checks – 1

This is the biggest year for drug prosecutions, but even here it's not what I'd expect, considering the basis for the complaint by the Reason folks. Of those five prosecutions, we've got 1 for anabolic steroids, 1 for ecstasy tabs, and 3 for crack. Not exactly a weed jihad.

drugs – 1
mailing a threatening communication – 1
felon with a firearm – 2
social security – 2
bankruptcy – 1

The drug case here was 10 kilograms of cocaine hydrochloride

mail fraud – 2
drugs – 1
child pornography – 1
felon with a firearm – 1

The drug case was cocaine base (crack).

child pornography -- 2

Before 2001, I've got few random cases on bank robbery, perjury, bankruptcy, and tax stuff. Buchanan was an Assistant U.S. Attorney at the time, and so she wasn't making any prosecuting decisions.

Based on the foregoing, I concur with Jack M.'s conclusion that the Reason article is really motivated by anger over the Tommy Chong prosecution, because big "L" Libertarians are a bunch of pot fiends pretending they have a political philosophy.