Ms Deirdre Daly, daughter of a Medal of Honor recipient and granddaughter of a man who fought in WWI and WWII and was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, became the first female U.S. Attorney for Connecticut.
She mentioned that and in spite of her working in fields that were dominated by men her career path had been filled with male mentors and that being a woman actually opened many doors for her.
As U.S. Attorney she supervises 65 lawyers spread over three offices. Presently, their highest priority is national security with over fifty percent of their time, money and resources allocated to that task. Next in line of importance are violent crimes and following that are crimes with vulnerable victims such as the elderly and also crimes that pose a threat to the environment. They are also concerned with civil rights violations and public corruption recently highlighted by the case against ex-governor Rowland.
Ms Daly pointed out that her office prides itself on gender and ethnic diversity with attorneys of both genders and a montage of ethnic backgrounds. Her office reports directly to the U.S. Attorney General and is responsible for carrying out that person’s policies. Her office and its staff also interact with the U.S. Justice Department. But, notwithstanding the reporting relation and their cooperation with other federal and state agencies, her office enjoys considerable autonomy.
Ms Daly gave some emphasis to the topic of investor fraud as she felt the Y’s Men could serve as Ambassadors to help detect and bring a stop to this crime category. According to Ms Daly this crime is extremely widespread and always results in tragic consequences. She pointed out that these crimes have common attributes, which should operate as a tip-off that things are not right. These include: the promise of fantastic returns; so-called opportunities presented as a no-risk proposition; they are typically claimed to be linked to some humanitarian project; cloaked in secrecy; limited time to participate; their returns always are delayed for some reason; the con-man or woman always drops the names of prominent people they claim are part of the deal; there are questionable documents frequently filled with typos, bad grammar and other errors, but copies are never left with the victims; claims that the high returns are made possible because of the participation of some prominent person and sourced from a secondary market; and they usually require extensive disclosure information from the intended victim.
Ms Daly then addressed questions that had been previously submitted to her.
Q. Is a Ferguson like incident a priority for your office?
A. This is a high priority for the Justice Department and it follows-up with civil rights investigations. These incidents often require such investigations because of a lack of trust between the community and law enforcement officers.
Q. Is your office involved with issues concerning the suppression of minority voting rights?
A. This too is a priority for the Justice Department.
Q. Do you get involved with voter fraud cases?
A. I have one person dedicated to that during elections as does the FBI. Much of that is handled out of Washington D.C.
Q. What about Medicare fraud?
A. Connecticut doesn’t have Medicare mills like Florida, but there is a great amount of over-charging and billing for services that haven’t been performed. All of you would do a great service by closely examining bills and reporting those types of things.
Q. What do you do about immigration?
A. Our priority is to go after violent felons that are in the country illegally. Other immigration cases are a much lower priority.
Q. Do you prosecute marijuana cases?
A. Federal authorities don’t typically go after low level cases, but we monitor the situation and will go after those tied to violence.
Ms Daly then spoke about the project known as “Smart on Crime”. She explained that this initiative prioritized civil liberty situations and emphasized outreach as a way of addressing those issues. Often Title IX and Ferguson like problems are handled with this approach. The idea is to bring down the rates of incarceration, which are unsustainable and often involve drugs. More emphasis is placed on going after drug situations where violence is involved while giving other drug cases a lower priority. In addition, sentencing guidelines for drug possession have been revised reducing the length of sentences and building more clemency into the system. These approaches have reduced crime and incarceration by 10% with a 17% drop in Connecticut.
A final topic was one called “Project Longevity”. This is an effort to reduce crime based on a partnership between law enforcement officials, community leaders and academics. It requires a sharing of intelligence to identify the most violent prone groups throughout the state. These groups are then ranked based on the numbers of shootings and homicides. Representatives of the most violent are then called in and told that such activities must stop, or they will be pinpointed by all law enforcement both federal and state and charged with any violation no matter the size or type. But if they cooperate, the community will support their efforts and give assistance in a large variety of ways. This approach, which right now is unique to Connecticut has lowered recidivism and reduced crime by 30%.
Questions and Answers
Q. Does your office or any agency routinely store cyber data?
A. My office does not store any cyber data. The data stored by some federal agencies is done with court approval and what they do is mostly appropriate.
Q. How does your office interact with state attorneys?
A. We have a lot of collaboration between the various offices. In order to be effective, much coordination between all agencies both federal and state is required.
Q. Do you support the death penalty and would you implement it?
A. Personally, I am against the death penalty because I don’t think it serves as a deterrent and it is hugely expensive. But the penalty exists and I have to follow the rules.
Q. What should I do with an unsolicited very large check I received that is non-negotiable?
A. You could give it to the FBI. You should also know that right now there are frauds that claim to be associated with the IRS and jury duty. Most of these scams originate overseas, frequently in Russia.
Q. Will the Attorney General change the drug laws and go after the Wall Street people who caused so much pain?
A. The drug laws will stay on the books and we have many tools to go after financial fraud so that is still an open issue.