Alberto Gonzales' successor at Justice will find a department seriously weakened by budget cuts that have reduced prosecutions in all types of crimes, the Wall Street Journal reports. As funds have been redirected to fighting terrorism, positions in US attorneys offices remain unfilled, and investigations have languished for months.
Because fewer prosecutors are available, crimes must be more serious to merit cases, and more cases have been settled out of court . The Department has resorted to hiring young, inexperienced lawyers. Prosecutions are sharply down in drugs, violent crime and white-collar offenses. "Americans are less safe today because of these shortfalls," one observer tells the Journal.