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March 21, 2011

By: Joel Cohen

In a bizarre motion, a U.S. attorney in Iowa demanded that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit refuse to accept amicus curiae briefs from several prominent organizations, joined by law professors, former federal judges and prosecutors, in a highly publicized case involving allegations of serious prosecutorial and judicial misconduct. Seeking permission to file these "friend of the court" briefs were the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and the Washington Legal Foundation. The government's "resistance motion" claimed that the participation of these amici would not "substantially aid the court," and "is an attempt to inject interest group politics into the case." More likely, the prosecutor's heavy-handed action to block the amici was a mean-spirited response to public criticism of the government's conduct in the case, which, ironically, will probably only increase public attention to the government's abuse of power.

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