Syracuse University

Letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and DOJ Report

On July 28, 2010, the Department of Justice submitted its annual report on the Emmett Till Act to Congress.  While the report notes some key progress in the effort to solve civil rights era crimes, the report is mainly troubling for the approaches that are described and the lack of results from the FBI and Department of Justice in the majority of cases.   

The Cold Case Justice Initiative at Syracuse University College of Law (CCJI) and the Civil Rights Restorative Justice Project (CRRJ) at Northeastern University School of Law sent a joint letter to Attorney General Eric Holder and Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez to express our concerns about the slow progress on the civil rights era cold cases.    

Attached is the joint letter that CCJI and CRRJ sent to Attorney General Holder and AAG Perez.  The Department's 2010 report also is attached.  In sum, our primary concerns include: (1) the need for State Task Forces with on-site representative from the respective federal and local law enforcement agencies; (2) the need for expedited access to federal government documents regarding the cases for families, lawyers, and other advocates; (3) to need for promptly held meetings with family members and their representatives; (4) the need for detailed reporting to Congress of the allocations and expenditures under the Till Act; and (5) the need for an advisory task force of interested individuals and organizations. 

In addition,  CCJI believes very strongly that Congressional hearings are necessary in order for Congress, family members of the victims of racially-motivated killings, and the American public to obtain answers and accountability from the law enforcement agencies that are mandated to implement the Emmett Till Act. Justice delayed must not be justice denied. 

Paula C. Johnson and Janis L. McDonald
Professors of Law and Co-Directors,
Cold Case Justice Initiative
Syracuse University College of Law

DOJ Civil Rights Cold Case Report 2010

letter to Attorney General Eric Holder regarding the Department of Justice's 2010 Report to Congress on the Emmett Till Act