Following the announcement on Thursday by Attorney General Eric Holder that he will be stepping down as the nation’s attorney general, the Innocence Project commends his tremendous leadership in helping to uncover and prevent wrongful convictions. Innocence Project Co-Director Peter Neufeld had the following to say about his service:
Attorney General Holder has been an outstanding advocate for justice in many ways, but under his tenure several things stand out in his leadership to protect the innocent. He took a critical first step in validating and developing scientific standards for forensic practices by helping to establish the first ever National Commission on Forensic Science. Similarly, when it was learned that FBI analysis may have given improper testimony in cases involving hair analysis, he agreed to an unprecedented review of thousands of cases and has steadfastly kept to that promise. And breaking a 20-year stalemate, he has initiated a policy where for the first time government law enforcement officers are required to electronically record interrogations in most instances. His tenure will be unquestionably remembered for his unwavering commitment to fairness and justice.
In addition to his work to protect the innocent, Holder should be commended for his work to improve the criminal justice system more broadly. Just this week, he appeared at a forum hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice where he called for sweeping changes to end over- incarceration. He has been a staunch advocated for fairer sentencing, seeking to end mandatory minimums. Additionally, he has often spoken out about the racial problems that plague the criminal justice system, most recently addressing the killing of the unarmed teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.