US Attorney: Why we won't share declination data
"This past week, I volunteered to represent my U.S. attorney colleagues and the Department of Justice by testifying before the Senate Indian Affairs Committee in Washington. North Dakota’s own Sen. Byron Dorgan chairs the committee, and it was a special honor to be graciously welcomed to the hearing and to accept his compliments of the work that many are doing, including the U.S. attorney’s office here in North Dakota.

Some questions have been raised about whether the department is willing to publish or otherwise pass along what have been termed “declination reports” and “declination statistics.” As I shared with the committee, there are two primary concerns about passing along internal Justice Department statistics and reports of this nature.

First, the fact that a case was declined lends itself to the inaccurate assumption that a prosecutor didn’t have the resources or desire to pursue a case. In North Dakota, no Indian country cases are declined for a lack of resources in our office, and it goes without saying that we never simply turn our back on provable cases that merit prosecution.

Second, sharing detailed reports on declined cases would sometimes result in unlawful sharing of confidential grand jury information, and would often result in privacy violations and safety concerns for victims and witnesses."

Get the Story:
U.S. attorney Drew Wrigley, Fargo, letter: Prosecution stats don't tell full story (The Grand Forks Herald 9/23)

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