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The Attorney General's Weekly Video Message
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Attorney General's Weekly Video Message: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

January 17, 2014

On Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Attorney General Eric Holder reflects on Dr. King's vision of social and economic justice and our shared faith in the ideals upon which the American Republic was founded.

The Attorney General's Weekly Video Message: Sentencing Reform

January 23, 2014

Attorney General Holder today called on Congress to pass common-sense reforms like the bipartisan Smarter Sentencing Act, which would give judges more discretion in determining appropriate sentences for people convicted of certain federal drug crimes. These reforms would advance the goals of the Smart on Crime initiative - and other efforts that are currently underway - by fundamentally improving policies that exacerbate, rather than alleviate, key criminal justice challenges.

The Attorney General's Weekly Video Message: Lifting the Hiring Freeze

February 10, 2014

Attorney General Holder today announced the lifting of the Justice Department-wide hiring freeze that's been in place for just over three years. Thanks to additional resources provided by Congress, the Department will finally be able to fill critical vacancies, and resume the hiring process for federal agents, prosecutors, analysts, and the other staff we need to fulfill our mission.

The Attorney General's Weekly Video Message: Protecting Consumers from Cybercrime and Identity Theft

February 24, 2014

Attorney General Holder today called on Congress to create a strong, national standard for quickly alerting consumers whose information may be compromised by cyberattacks. This legislation would strengthen the Justice Department's ability to combat crime, ensure individual privacy, and prevent identity theft - while bringing cybercriminals to justice.

Attorney General Holder Calls Rise in Heroin Overdoses 'Urgent Public Health Crisis,' Vows Mix of Enforcement, Treatment

March 10, 2014

Calling the rise in overdose deaths from heroin and other prescription pain-killers an “urgent public health crisis,” Attorney General Eric Holder vowed Monday that the Justice Department would combat the epidemic through a mix of enforcement and treatment efforts. As an added step, the Attorney General is also encouraging law enforcement agencies to train and equip their personnel with the life-saving, overdose-reversal drug known as naloxone.

Attorney General Holder Announces New Requirements for Halfway Houses to Boost Treatment Services

March 24, 2014

Touting the most significant drop in the federal prison population in three decades, Attorney General Eric Holder announced a critical new step to fight recidivism. For the first time, the Justice Department, through the Federal Bureau of Prisons, will require all 200-plus halfway houses in the federal system to offer standardized treatment to prisoners with mental health and substance abuse issues. Once fully implemented, following a 30-day comment period, these services will be available to all 30,000 federal inmates who are released through halfway houses each year.

Attorney General Holder Calls Tax Refund Fraud and Identity Theft a "Rising Threat"

April 7, 2014

Calling stolen identity refund fraud "a rising threat," Attorney General Holder warned Americans to be vigilant and protect their personal information as the April 15 tax filing deadline approaches. In the last year alone, the Justice Department charged more than 880 defendants involved in stolen identity refund fraud, and the IRS reports that it resolved and closed approximately 963,000 cases involving identity theft victims. Reinforcing the point that anyone can be a target, the Attorney General shared his recent experience with tax refund fraud after two people attempted to file with his personal information. The Attorney General also urged Americans to protect themselves by reporting suspicious activity and learning more at the IRS website or STOPFRAUD.GOV.

Attorney General Holder Urges Congress to Approve Funding for Active Shooter Situation Training

April 15, 2014

Amid an alarming rise in the number of active shooter incidents since 2009-and following the recent tragedies at Ft. Hood and at a Jewish Community Center in Kansas-Attorney General Eric Holder urged Congress to approve $15 million in funding for active shooter training and other officer safety initiatives. These initiatives are critical to providing front-line officers-who are usually first on the scene of an active shooting incident-with the tools, training, and equipment they need to respond to threats, to protect themselves, and to save innocent lives.

Justice Department to Expand Executive Clemency Criteria and Prepare for Increase in Eligible Petitions

April 21, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the Justice Department will soon detail new, more expansive criteria that the Department will use in considering when to recommend clemency applications for the President's review. The Attorney General said the Department will assign additional attorneys to review the new applications that are expected to result from this change. The new criteria will allow the Justice Department and the President to consider requests from a larger field of eligible and deserving individuals, and will ultimately serve to advance the goals of the Attorney General's "Smart on Crime" initiative-to strengthen the criminal justice system, promote public safety, and deliver on the promise of equal justice under the law.

Attorney General Holder: Justice Department to Collect Data on Stops, Arrests as Part of Effort to Curb Racial Bias in Criminal Justice System

April 28, 2014

The Department of Justice is launching an initiative to analyze and reduce the effect of racial bias within the criminal justice system. Through the new National Center for Building Community Trust and Justice, the Department will collect data regarding a broad range of areas in which fairness and trust can come into question-from stops and searches to wrongful convictions. By employing a data-driven approach that builds on the work of the Department's Smart on Crime initiative, this program will implement evidence-based strategies to strengthen the relationship between law enforcement and communities of color. This new effort will be funded by an initial $4.75 million competitive grant award.

Attorney General Holder: No Company or Individual is "Too Big to Jail"

May 5, 2014

In the years after the financial collapse of 2008, some individuals used the phrase "too big to jail" to describe the theory that certain financial institutions-even if they engage in criminal conduct-are immune from criminal prosecution. As the Justice Department continues to pursue several important investigations, the Attorney General asserted that no individual or company, no matter how large or how profitable, is above the law. He intends to reaffirm that principle in the weeks ahead.

Attorney General Holder Speaks Out Against Excessive Use of Solitary Confinement for Juveniles with Disabilities

May 13, 2014

Attorney General Holder spoke out against excessive use of isolation and solitary confinement for young people with disabilities at juvenile detention centers, saying that juvenile incarceration must be used "to rehabilitate, and not merely to warehouse and forget." Citing reports that described young people being held in confinement for up to 23 hours a day, the Attorney General called for an end to unnecessary or excessive seclusion of youth with disabilities, which can be counterproductive and in some cases extremely harmful.

Attorney General Holder Announces New Policy on Recordings of Interviews of Individuals in Federal Custody

May 22, 2014

Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new policy for the Department of Justice that creates a presumption that statements made by individuals in federal custody, after they have been arrested but before their initial appearance, will be electronically recorded. This new policy will document that detained individuals are afforded their constitutionally protected rights, and provide federal law enforcement officials with clear and indisputable records of important statements and confessions made by individuals who have been detained.

Attorney General Holder Suggests New Proposal to Guarantee Voting Access for American Indians and Alaska Natives

June 9, 2014

In this week's message, Attorney General Eric Holder criticized election practices that adversely affect the ability of American Indian and Alaska Native populations to exercise their right to vote. These obstacles include inaccessible polling places in tribal areas, English-only ballots for areas with limited English proficiency, and "precinct realignment" practices that attempt to combine geographically isolated Native communities. In order to combat this problem, Attorney General Holder announced that the Justice Department would officially enter formal consultations with sovereign tribes to consider a legislative proposal that would require any state or local election administrator whose territory includes part or all of an Indian reservation, an Alaskan native village, or other tribal lands to locate at least one polling place in a venue selected by the tribal government.

Attorney General Holder Lays Out Strong Action Against Financial Institutions and Third Party Processors that Facilitate Consumer Fraud

June 23, 2014

In this week's message, Attorney General Eric Holder described the Justice Department's work to protect consumers from scam artists by investigating financial institutions and third party processors that assist in, or willfully ignore, fraudulent behavior. In the days ahead, the Justice Department will keep moving forward - guided by the facts and the law - to eliminate fraud targeting consumers while mitigating any impact on institutions not under investigation. Ultimately, the goal of these investigations is to protect consumers from scam artists and collaborating institutions-and to safeguard honest, hardworking Americans from those who put their financial security in peril.

Attorney General Holder Criticizes Wisconsin Voter ID Law, Vows Strong Federal Action to Protect the Right to Vote Nationwide

June 25, 2014

In this week's message, one year after the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the historic Voting Rights Act of 1965 in Shelby County v. Holder, Attorney General Eric Holder criticized a restrictive voter ID law in Wisconsin that erected significant barriers to equal access without serving any legitimate government interest. In April, a federal district court in Wisconsin ruled that the law, which disproportionately impacted the state's African-American and Latino voters, violated both the equal protection clause of the Constitution and Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which remains in effect. And today, Attorney General Holder made clear that the Department of Justice will continue to use all remaining voting rights protections, including Section 2, in order to stand against disenfranchisement wherever it exists - and in whatever form.

Attorney General Holder Announces Expanded DEA Effort to Fight Prescription Drug Abuse

September 8, 2014

In order to bolster the DEA's work against prescription drug abuse, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced a significantly expanded drug take-back effort that will offer new ways for people to safely dispose of old or unused prescription drugs. In addition to authorizing new drop-off sites, the program will allow patients and family members to mail prescription medications to authorized collectors using pre-paid mail-back packages that they can obtain from their local pharmacy and other locations. For more information, please visit the DEA's website at

Attorney General Holder Announces Pilot Projects to Counter Violent Extremism in Communities Nationwide

September 15, 2014

In order to complement the Obama Administration's ongoing work to protect the American people from a range of evolving national security threats, Attorney General Eric Holder has announced that the Department of Justice is joining with the White House, the Department of Homeland Security, and the National Counterterrorism Center to launch a new series of pilot programs in cities across the nation to help counter violent extremism. These programs will bring together community representatives, public safety officials, religious leaders, and United States Attorneys to improve local engagement and – ultimately – to build a broad network of community partnerships to keep our nation safe.

Attorney General Holder Announces $2.6 Million in Grants for Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention

September 22, 2014

Domestic violence is a devastating crime that claims far too many lives, and the Justice Department is working hard to bring an end to this tragic status quo. Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that four sites have been selected to receive a total of $2.6 million to implement promising models aimed at reducing domestic violence homicides. Over the next two years, these sites-- Pitt County, North Carolina; Cuyahoga County, Ohio; Contra Costa County, California; and the Borough of Brooklyn, New York—will institute screening models and evidence-based strategies that will allow them to anticipate potentially lethal behavior, take steps to stop the escalation of violence, and – ultimately – save lives.

Attorney General Holder Denounces Unnecessary Reductions in Ohio Early Voting

October 06, 2014

One of the Justice Department’s most solemn responsibilities is ensuring access to the ballot box for every eligible citizen. In recent years, however, some states have enacted troubling new measures that unnecessarily limit the ability of particular Americans to participate in the democratic process. Ohio, for example, has recently imposed restrictions that significantly reduce opportunities for early voting – opportunities that had in the past been heavily used by African-American voters. Today, Attorney General Eric Holder called on election officials and other public servants at every level across the country to consider their responsibilities not to political constituencies, but to the country they serve—and to ensure that engagement in the democratic process remains the responsibility, and the birthright, of every American.

Attorney General Holder Announces Federal Government to Recognize Legal Same-Sex Marriages In Seven New States

October 17, 2014

Last week, the United States Supreme Court declined to review rulings from three federal appeals courts that had struck down bans on same-sex marriage in five states across the country. Within hours of the decision, same-sex couples in Indiana, Oklahoma, Utah, Virginia, and Wisconsin were able to have their unions recognized in the states where they live. Today, Attorney General Eric Holder announced that the federal government would recognize same-sex marriages performed in no fewer than seven new states, with additional states likely to follow. This brings the total number of states where same-sex marriages are federally recognized to 26, plus the District of Columbia. Attorney General Holder pledged to extend all applicable federal benefits to same-sex married couples to the fullest extent allowed by federal law. And he made clear that, if the Supreme Court decides to address the constitutionality of state bans on same-sex marriage, the Justice Department is prepared to file a brief consistent with its past support for marriage equality.

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