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DOJ Unveils the Justice Manual

By George Khoury, Esq. | Last updated on

The new "Justice Manual" was recently announced by the United States Department of Justice. The Justice Manual is the updated version of the DOJ's former United States Attorney Manual, which basically lays out the D.O.J.'s policies that the department's lawyers must abide by.

The department's announcement explains that it had been over 20 years since the last "comprehensive review and overhaul." The new name is meant to reflect the fact that the manual, over time, has proven useful for more than just AGs and other government attorneys. Attorneys that advise businesses or individuals related to matters that the DOJ enforces, or helps to shape statutory interpretations or policies over, should probably spend some time reviewing the updates.

Notable Updates

The announcement explains that "many provisions of the manual no longer reflect current law and department policy." One big update to the manual that federal criminal practitioners will want to take a look at involves the "Principles of Federal Prosecution," which has been expanded. The manual also updated some language that seems to push for prosecutors to pursue charges that carry the most substantial penalties.

The manual also received some notable updates including the addition of new policies related to "religious liberty litigation" and "disclosure of foreign influence operations." Given how hot these topics have been in the media over the past year due to RFRA and the last Presidential election cycle's Russian influence scandal, getting a clear, updated DOJ policy statement could prove helpful for litigators, state and federal investigators, and courts.

Notable Deletions

As reported by Teen Vogue while the Justice Manual was still being revised, information about the freedom of the press and racial gerrymandering were curiously removed. That report suggests that the DOJ is falling in line with President Trump's policy guidance.

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