Eric Holder Seeks to Lower Bar on Civil Rights Prosecutions

by
Jessica Renae Buxbaum
Attorney General Eric Holder will call on Congress to lower the standard of proof in federal civil rights cases.

Eric Holder

In his final weeks of office, Attorney General Eric Holder will call on Congress to lower the standard of proof necessary in federal civil rights cases to allow federal prosecution.

Holder’s decision comes in light of the Justice Department’s failure to find sufficient evidence to pursue federal civil rights charges in the 2012 shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

The government lawyers cited the “department's inability to meet the high legal standard" in the civil rights statutes as a reason for the decision.

Holder agrees that the standard is limiting. "We do need to change the law. I do think the standard is too high," Holder said Thursday. "There needs to be a change with regard to the standard of proof."

Holder is expected to announce whether the federal government will bring civil rights charges in last summer’s shooting of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, in the next few weeks.

 

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