According to sources, Rep. Frank Wolf R.Va. and Rep. Lamar Smith R-Tx received a letter today from the Dept. of Justice Office of Professional Responsibility (DOJ) about the voter intimidation case against the New Black Panther Party for Self-Defense ( NBP), which was mysteriously dismissed by the DOJ after President Obama took office.
Questions about this unusual dismissal have been asked by Messrs. Wolf and Smith, as well as, the U.S. Civil Rights Commission. Several letters were sent to DOJ asking for the process that resulted in the DOJ dropping a case against two of the three members after they already received a judgement against all three. These letters were either unanswered or answered evasively.
The letter, signed by Mary Patrice Brown, Acting Counsel, states the Office of Professional Responsibility is initiating an inquiry into the matter. She said that they will be contacted with the results once the inquiry is completed.
Mr. Wolf issued a statement today after receiving the letter. He said:
“After months of unanswered questions, incomplete and faulty excuses, and revelations of political influence, the Office of Professional Responsibility has agreed with our July 9 letter asking for a full investigation of the dismissal of this important voter intimidation case – over the objections of both the career attorneys on the trial team and the department’s own appellate board. I fully support OPR’s decision to investigate this dismissal and look forward to their report. I hope the Civil Rights office also will agree that the case should be re-filed. ”
Speculation remains about how assiduously the DOJ will investigate this matter because of the resistance they have shown thus far. Questions also remain as to why the Philadelphia District Attorney's Office never prosecuted this case or why civil liberties organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union, National Lawyers Guild and others have been silent about it.