WASHINGTON (UPI) — The Department of Justice has ordered about 1,000 of its attorneys to undergo additional ethics training following a Texas judge’s ruling that he was misled.
The additional one hour of training in a one-time program, on top of existing requirements, was ordered last month for attorneys in the Justice Department’s Civil Division, according to court documents made public Monday.
In May, Judge Andrew Hanen of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas said Justice Department lawyers intentionally misled him while the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration lawsuit against the administration of President Barack Obama was before him in its early stages — accusing the Justice Department of a “calculated plan of unethical conduct.”
Hanen said both he and opposing counsel were assured that the government would not start implementing an expansion of the immigration program until Feb. 18, 2015, but the government implemented a part of the program before February and the Department of Homeland Security had already granted relief preventing deportation under the immigration programs to more than 100,000 undocumented immigrants while the programs were being challenged in court.
Hanen accused Justice Department lawyers of deliberately hiding the facts from him. The new training appears to be a concession to Hanen, as he put on hold an order for three hours of additional ethics training for every Justice Department lawyer based in Washington, D.C., who would appear in state or federal courts involved in the lawsuit against the Obama’s immigration plan pending a submission from the federal government.
The Justice Department said “failures” and “mistakes” were the reason Hanen was misled, not deliberate deception.
“We do not dispute that we made mistakes that led to the unfortunate circumstances here: at critical times we provided incomplete information to the court because of our failure to appreciate the scope of the questions asked of us; and we used imprecise terminology in our oral and written submissions to the court,” the Justice Department writes. “As a result, our submissions left the court with an incorrect understanding of the facts … We acknowledge and apologize for these mistakes, and for the valuable time the court has expended on this matter as a result. But we did not intend to mislead the court or to conceal any fact concerning implementation of the guidance.”
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