A criminal offense that involves interference, through words or actions, with the proper operations of a court or officers of the court.
The integrity of the judicial system depends on the participants’ acting honestly and without fear of reprisals. Threatening a judge, trying to bribe a witness, or encouraging the destruction of evidence are examples of obstruction of justice. Federal and state laws make it a crime to obstruct justice.
Obstruction of justice in the federal courts is governed by a series of criminal statutes (18 U.S.C.A. §§ 1501–1517), which aim to protect the integrity of federal judicial proceedings as well as agency and congressional proceedings. Section 1503 is the primary vehicle for punishing those who obstruct or who endeavor to obstruct federal judicial proceedings.
Section 1503 proscribes obstructions of justice aimed at judicial officers, grand and petit jurors, and witnesses. The law makes it a crime to threaten, intimidate, or retaliate against these participants in a criminal or civil proceeding. In addition, section 1503 makes it illegal to attempt the Bribery of an official to alter the outcome of a judicial proceeding.
Besides these specific prohibitions, section 1503 contains the Omnibus Clause, which states that a person who “corruptly or by threats of force, or by threatening letter or communication, influences, obstructs, or impedes, or endeavors to influence, obstruct, or impede, the due administration of justice” is guilty of the crime of obstruction of justice. This clause offers broad protection to the “due administration of justice.” Federal courts have read this clause expansively to proscribe any conduct that interferes with the judicial process
The above definition is from the Free Legal Dictionary.
Is there any way that the threats from Eric Holder and the Department of Justice do not fit into this definition?
The Federal Government refuses to do it’s job, and has now filed suit to prevent Arizona from helping the government do their job.
While using charges of racism and profiling in their public announcements, the DOJ completely omitted these charges from the suit. Clearly, that makes it painfully obvious that the distortions were nothing more than intimidation and an attempt to interfere with Arizona officials and officers of the court.
Holder has completely politicized this issue, and ironically, bemoans the politicizing of the terrorist trials in New York City.
It is time Arizona show Holder they mean business. Governor Brewer has a sworn duty to protect the citizens of the state of Arizona. If the Federal Government fails to protect the boarders, the task falls on Brewer. To ignore the problem would be grounds for her removal from office.
While obstruction charges against a US Attorney General are infrequent, they are not without precedent. Obstruction charges have been considered against former US AG Alberto Gonzalez by Eric Holder in the firing of 9 US attorneys (who serve at the pleasure of the President).