ABA News

ABA Criminal Justice Section launches Prosecutorial Independence Task Force

The Criminal Justice Section of the American Bar Association today announced the creation of the Task Force for Prosecutorial Independence to preserve and strengthen prosecutorial independence and enhance the American public’s understanding of the prosecutor’s critical role in maintaining the integrity of the criminal justice system.

Co-chaired by John Choi, attorney for Ramsey County in Saint Paul, Minnesota; Ellen S. Podgor, the Gary R. Trombley Family White Collar Crime Research Professor at the Stetson University College of Law; and Ellen Yaroshefsky, the Howard Lichtenstein Distinguished Professor of Legal Ethics at the Maurice A Deane School of Law at Hofstra University, the 24-member task force is comprised of a diverse group of prosecutors, defenders, legal scholars and others with expertise in the criminal justice system from across the country and across the political spectrum. Sara Alpert Lawson of Zuckerman Spaeder LLP is the reporter.

The task force will be assisted by an advisory board composed of national leaders, including former U.S. Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales, former U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch and former U.S. Deputy Attorney General Larry D. Thompson.

“The ABA Criminal Justice Section works to preserve the independence and exercise of discretion of locally elected prosecutors, which is a cornerstone of our justice system,” Choi said. “The Task Force on Prosecutorial Independence was created to reinforce, promote and educate the public about the importance of prosecutorial independence.”

The task force’s formation follows the adoption on Feb. 5 of Criminal Justice Section Resolution 501 by the ABA House of Delegates at the ABA Midyear Meeting in Louisville.

Resolution 501 “urges state, local, territory and tribal officials to adhere to the ABA Criminal Justice Standards for the Prosecution Function to affirm the essential role of prosecutorial discretion and independence in the criminal justice process, to respect the independence and discretion inherent in the prosecutorial function and to provide that removal, suspension or substitution of an elected or appointed prosecutor should not be permitted” for improper or personal reasons. The resolution also calls on officials to establish written standards that ensure prosecutors are afforded due process.

For additional information on the task force, visit www.americanbar.org/groups/criminal_jus tice/committees/taskforces/prosecutorial-independence.

National security issues in spotlight at ABA Federal Procurement Institute

Legal experts, federal judges and government officials will discuss significant federal procurement developments, with a specific focus on national security, at the American Bar Association Section of Public Contract Law’s 30th Annual Federal Procurement Institute, to be held March 7-8 in Annapolis, Maryland.

Highlights include:

• “How National Security Impacts the Federal Supply Chain” — Our national security depends on our ability to obtain the right products and services, at the right time, with the quality and in the quantities needed. However, the supply chain continues to be challenged by the impacts of COVID, emerging global conflicts and asymmetric warfare, and new rules that impact what can be bought, from which entities, and when. The panel will discuss:

- What is being required of contractors today and what are contractors doing to address capacity challenges to perform their government contracts?

- What is required of contractors to address provenance, as well as effectively monitor and oversee their global supply chains?

- How do FASC determinations fit into this supply chain process?

- What is the impact of prohibiting certain products and entities from use or participation in the supply chain?

- How do traditional notions of merger and acquisition review, CFIUS and Defense Production Act play into contractor efforts to address customer and supply chain surge and sustainment needs?

- Can contractors obtain relief when they encounter impacts to their supply chain?

• “Preparing Critical Infrastructure for a Post-Quantum Computing World” — Nation-states are actively pursuing quantum computing that threaten to break cryptographic standards. However, due to the unique nature of federal contracting, the federal government is typically three to five years behind the private sector in IT infrastructure. While quantum computing technology capable of breaking current encryption algorithm does not yet exist, government and critical infrastructure entities must prepare for a new post-quantum cryptographic standard to defend against future threats against critical infrastructure. The White House released a memorandum in May 2022 directing specific actions for agencies to take as the United States begins the multiyear process of migrating vulnerable computer systems to quantum-resistant cryptography. This panel will discuss what actions DoD can take to future-proof its IT infrastructure and technology and stay ahead of its adversaries, including an emphasis on cryptographic agility, to reduce the time to contract and implement the technology and to allow for seamless updates for future cryptographic standards.

• “Recent Developments in Cybersecurity: On the Front Lines” — Cybersecurity remains a key national security priority for the federal government, particularly for government contractors.  Over the past year we have seen a new final rule from DHS, two proposed FAR rules that will impact the federal supply chain and enhanced enforcement initiatives.  Speakers on this panel will examine:

- Two new proposed FAR rules on cyber incident reporting and standardizing cybersecurity for federal information systems

- Final DHS rule relating to contractor handling of controlled unclassified information

- The SEC’s recent cybersecurity risk management and disclosure rules

- Recent developments in DOJ’s Civil Cyber Fraud Initiative

For additional information on the institute or the ABA Section of Public Contract Law, visit www.americanbar.org/groups/public_contract_law.