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April 13, 2021

Any interesting new insights about the interesting new folks tapped by Prez Biden for DEA and AAG positions at the Department of Justice?

As detailed in this press release, Prez Biden yesterday announced "His Intent to Nominate 11 Key Administration Leaders on National Security and Law Enforcement."  Two of the nominees could prove be particularly impactful in sentencing and other federal criminal justice reform arenas: 

Anne Milgram, Nominee for Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration, Department of Justice

Anne Milgram has had a distinguished career as a state, local, and federal prosecutor.  As New Jersey’s Attorney General from 2007-2010, Milgram was New Jersey’s chief law enforcement officer and led the 9,000-person Department of Law & Public Safety, overseeing the New Jersey State Police and the State Division of Criminal Justice....

Kenneth Polite, Nominee for Assistant Attorney General for Criminal Division, Department of Justice

Kenneth A. Polite is currently a partner at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP.  During the Obama/Biden administration, he served as the United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana, where he championed prevention, reentry, and enforcement in improving public safety, and advised Department of Justice leadership as a member of the Attorney General’s Advisory Committee.... 

I do not know all that much about either of these folks, but I do know that lots of criminal justice advocates are going to be urging them to be reform minded.  Here is some early press coverage of these nominations providing some background:

UPDATE:  A helpful reader commented that Anne Milgram gave this notable TED talk in October 2013 titled "Why smart statistics are the key to fighting crime."  Here is how the 12-minute talk, which has been viewed more than 1 million times, is described:

When she became the attorney general of New Jersey in 2007, Anne Milgram quickly discovered a few startling facts: not only did her team not really know who they were putting in jail, but they had no way of understanding if their decisions were actually making the public safer.  And so began her ongoing, inspirational quest to bring data analytics and statistical analysis to the US criminal justice system.

Because I believe the DEA could and would likely benefit from using more "smart statistics," I hope these ideas become part of DEA operations in the years ahead.

April 13, 2021 at 03:56 PM | Permalink



Posted by: Anonymous | Apr 13, 2021 6:21:42 PM

Kenneth Polite's biography is just breathtaking. He grew up in public housing projects in New Orleans' infamous Lower 9th Ward. One of his brothers was killed in a shooting there. Ken was Valedictorian of his high school class and subsequently attended Harvard College and Georgetown University Law School. He spent 4 years as the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Louisiana in New Orleans. His surviving brother is a police officer. I want to watch him serve as the head of the Criminal Division at DOJ. So much character, intelligence and experience.

Posted by: Jim Gormley | Apr 14, 2021 7:00:55 AM

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