The Prosecutor in the Michael Brown Case Must Go
August 21, 2014

Robert McCulloch should step aside, precisely because the facts of the case are so murky

Weight Watchers
October 31, 2009

In New Jersey, any candidate for high office can count on getting smeared over taxes, corruption, the economy, or all of the above. But in this fall's hard-fought gubernatorial race, an unlikely issue has popped up amidst the usual mud-slinging: the portly physique of Republican challenger Chris Christie. Ever since Jon Corzine released his now-infamous attack ad, in which a disdainful voiceover claims Christie improperly "threw his weight around" as a U.S. Attorney, neither candidate has managed to entirely escape the politics of fat.

Presumed Guilty
October 28, 2009

A few weeks ago, I posted a "Nightline" segment featuring an interview with John Jackson, the prosecutor in the death penalty case of Cameron Todd Willingham. Willingham, who was almost certainly innocent, was nonetheless found guilty and executed by the state of Texas in 2004. The basis for the conviction was evidence given by arson investigators that was subsequently shown to be entirely unscientific.

Dead Letter, Ctd.
October 08, 2009

For any interested in witnessing the willfully slipshod and malevolent manner in which the state of Texas applies the death penalty, "Nightline" has done a follow-up segment to David Grann's New Yorker piece on the wrongful execution of Cameron Todd Willingham.

Why Was Letterman Being Blackmailed?
October 03, 2009

In today's front page New York Times story on the Letterman case, the lawyer for the CBS employee charged with larceny had some amusing things to say. [The lawyer] said that the prosecutor’s remarks in court about Mr. Halderman’s debts showed that “they’re obviously searching for a motive.” Right, a motive. Isn't the motivating factor in trying to blackmail someone for $2 million dollars...$2 million dollars???

The Plot Thins
September 29, 2009

Among those who know me well, few can remember when I covered any subjects other than Al Qaeda and the global jihad. I wrote about Osama Bin Laden when he was "Usama bin Ladin." And so since September 14, all anybody's been asking me are questions about a young Afghan immigrant named Najibullah Zazi and his alleged involvement in the first Al Qaeda cell uncovered in America since the 9/11 attacks. Here are my answers to the four most common questions I've been getting.  1. Is this just another of the government's over-hyped terror plots?  U.S.

Toobin: Don't Torture Zazi
September 25, 2009

The New Yorker's Jeff Toobin offers a good response to my open question about how we should be handling Najibullah Zazi, an accused al Qaeda terrorist who may be in league with men still on the loose: Time to break the waterboard out of storage? I think not—and not just because it’s illegal. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Brooklyn which is bringing the case (and where I was a prosecutor in the early nineties) filed a brief where it outlined the reasons why Zazi should be detained rather than released on bail.

The Bloodlust State
September 23, 2009

For any who were not adequately shaken by David Grann's masterful article "Trial by Fire," about a man put to death by the state of Texas for a crime he almost certainly did not commit, Ta-Nehisi Coates points to a Salon article by Alan Berlow that simply beggars belief: If anyone had any doubt that the Texas justice system operates in a parallel universe, look no further than the latest decision by the state's highest court in the case of death-row inmate Charles Dean Hood.

Mob Rule?
September 03, 2009

WASHINGTON -- Health care reform is said to be in trouble partly because of those raucous August town hall meetings in which Democratic members of Congress were besieged by shouters opposed to change. But what if our media-created impression of the meetings is wrong? What if the highly publicized screamers represented only a fraction of public opinion?

Did Holder Have a Choice?
August 25, 2009

Marc Ambinder makes a smart point about Eric Holder's decision to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate CIA interrogators: There was so much information in the public domain--and so much information that would eventually be released--that the attorney general could no longer argue that no specific instances of lawbreaking had been brought to his attention.