Thornburgh Memo

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The Thornburgh Memo was a U.S. Department of Justice memorandum prepared by then Attorney General Richard Thornburgh, on June 8, 1989. The memo declared that state ethics rules were not binding upon federal prosecutors. It asserted that any compliance with state ethical rules by federal prosecutors conducting government investigations was strictly voluntary.

Memorandum document

A memorandum is a written message that may be used in a business office. The plural form of the Latin noun memorandum so derived is properly memoranda, but if the word is deemed to have become a word of the English language, the plural memorandums, abbreviated to memos, may be used..

While the memo was not legally binding, it represented a dramatic statement of the then executive branch's understanding of its ethical obligations as lawyers.

When Janet Reno became Attorney General in 1993, the Justice Department backed away from the Thornburgh position. Instead, they promulgated the "Reno Rules," detailed in the Code of Federal Regulations. Those rules have since been supplanted by 28 U.S.C.   § 530B, which provides:

Janet Reno former Attorney General of the United States

Janet Wood Reno was an American lawyer who served as the Attorney General of the United States from 1993 until 2001. President Bill Clinton nominated Reno on February 11, 1993, and the Senate confirmed her the following month. She was the first woman to serve as Attorney General and the second-longest serving Attorney General in U.S. history, after William Wirt.

The Reno Rules were ethical rules for federal prosecutors promulgated in the Code of Federal Regulations by then Attorney General Janet Reno. The rules, despite their issuance, lacked statutory authority and were unenforceable. SeeUnited States v. McDonnell Douglas Corp., 132 F.3d 1252. The rules were passed in the wake of discussions about the Thornburgh Memo. They have since been supplanted by 28 U.S.C. § 530B.

<i>Code of Federal Regulations</i>

The Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) is the codification of the general and permanent rules and regulations published in the Federal Register by the executive departments and agencies of the federal government of the United States. The CFR is divided into 50 titles that represent broad areas subject to federal regulation.

"An attorney for the Government shall be subject to State laws and rules, and local Federal court rules, governing attorneys in each State where such attorney engages in that attorney's duties, to the same extent and in the same manner as other attorneys in that State."

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