Last month the US Department of Justice announced that they would be conducting an internal review following their failed case against FedEx, in which they accused the courier company of knowingly transporting illegal drugs.
The review will examine why exactly the case was brought against FedEx, in order to determine if lessons could be learned by government regulators, particularly in relation to their application of criminal law as opposed to civil law.
Senator Lee Harris, minority leader of the Tennessee Senate, described the prosecution—initiated by then US Attorney Melinda Haag—as “overzealous”. Cristina Arguedas, FedEx’s trial lawyer, pointed to “an epic institutional failure on the part of the Department of Justice”.
Jessica Karmasek at Forbes suggests that it may have been a matter of leadership. Karmasek notes that Judge Charles Breyer criticised the prosecution but commended Haag’s successor, Assistant US Attorney John Hemann, for seeking dismissal of the charges. Melinda Haag left the US Attorney’s Office while the trial was ongoing, eventually transitioning to private practice.
The seriousness of the internal review is unclear, and would depend on who handles it, according to a source of Karmasek—either the Department of Justice’s Criminal Division, in which case it would most likely be a functional review of the application of criminal law, or the Office of Professional Responsibility, which would investigate allegations of misconduct.