WASHINGTON, D.C. — In a recently released memo to U.S. states attorneys and other civil litigation segments, the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) has set guidelines for what it is calling "principles" for state and local government civil suit resolutions.
According to the DOJ, the guidelines will help ensure transparency, impartiality and "fundamental constitutional principles" in state and local government cases as well as "democratic control and accountability."
"These guidelines are designed to ensure that consent decrees with state and local governments are narrowly tailored to remedy the alleged violations, and are not used to extract greater relief from the state or local government than the department could obtain through litigation," the DOJ said in a statement. "They are also structured to ensure that, where appropriate, responsibility is returned to democratically accountable state and local institutions."
Among the requirements the DOJ outlines are limits on consent decree length, the stopping of consent decrees used to reach "general policy goals" and the appropriate approvals and reviews needed for consent decrees and settlements.