ACLU: Justice Department Blocking Freedom for Innocent Inmates


The American Civil Liberties Union wants the U.S. Justice Department to help free dozens of federal inmates whom prosecutors agree are innocent of the crimes that put them in prison, reports USA Today. An investigation by the newspaper identified dozens of people who had been imprisoned for something a federal appeals court later determined was not a federal crime.

Although Justice Department lawyers have conceded the men are “legally innocent,” the agency has made little effort to notify them and has argued in court to keep them locked up. ACLU lawyers say up to 3,000 inmates and probationers could be eligible to be freed or have sentences reduced, but they said of the Justice Department: “Instead of taking proactive steps to ensure that the innocent are freed, it has thrown up roadblocks.” Justice’s Allison Price said officials are “in the process of finalizing its position, within the confines of the law and in the interests of justice, as to how best to provide relief for defendants who by virtue of a subsequent court decision are no longer guilty of a federal crime.”

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