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Justice Department defends its civil rights prosecution record

[JURIST] Reacting to a new report concluding that federal enforcement of civil rights laws declined sharply during the Bush administration, a Justice Department spokesman has said that "this administration believes in and has vigorously enforced the criminal civil rights laws." The study, released by Syracuse University's Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse, concluded that federal prosecutors filed charges for violations of civil rights laws against only 84 defendants in 2003, down from 159 in 1999. The Justice Department has called the numbers "incorrect," saying the actual number of defendants prosecuted last year was actually 151, up from the number of prosecutions in 1999. David Burnham, co-author of the TRAC report, said the research was based entirely on information provided under the Freedom of Information Act. AP has more. JURIST's Paper Chase has background on the TRAC report.

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Paper Chase is JURIST's real-time legal news service, powered by a team of 30 law student reporters and editors led by law professor Bernard Hibbitts at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. As an educational service, Paper Chase is dedicated to presenting important legal news and materials rapidly, objectively and intelligibly in an accessible format.

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