Florida as it used to be - a place where water was clean and plentiful, schools graduated students who could read and people felt they belonged - Janet Reno; Fort Myers.

Cherish teachers who supported you during school

I just went for my fortieth high school reunion in Florida. I talked to my music teacher, I heard from my coach, my American history teacher --so many different people who touched my life. As you leave school, cherish the people who have touched your lives, the teachers who have made a difference, the family that sacrificed for you, the friends who have stood by you. Source: Commencement Speech, Eleanor Roosevelt H.S., Greenbelt MD Jun 1, 1996 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Invest in public schools

We must emphasize quality in education. A place in an integrated classroom is worth having only if it provides our children with a true opportunity to learn. We have to do more to address the inequality among the schools. We need to find ways to develop and to finance city school systems that will keep families, both black and white, in the public school and give them an education that will help them meet the challenges of this next century. Source: Speech to Baptist Church, Birmingham AL Jan 15, 1997 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Government & industry should join to fight Internet crime

Reno announced plans in 1999 to improve Internet security by encouraging companies and federal agencies to work together. In February of 2000, when some of the largest Internet sites were invaded and temporarily disabled by hackers, the Justice Department and the FBI were working with private industry to identify the computer vandals. She is looking into remedies and criminal charges that can be applied in computer crimes. Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed.; Gale Group Jan 1, 1999 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Use the law to protect the environment

[In her speech at Clinton's announcement of her candidacy for Attorney General, Reno said], "This is a beautiful country. Each of us has a favorite river, a mountain, just a patch of sky for some of us. I want to use the law to make sure that the waters, the land, and the skies of this nation are protected." [In her opening statement at her Senate confirmation hearings, Reno said], "I want to remember the splendid skies of the city I love, and the Everglades and the coral reefs that I've explored all my life, and I want to see that the laws of this country are enforced in every way possible to protect the environment." [During her Senate confirmation hearings], to a question from Ohio Democrat Howard Metzenbaum about cracking down on environmental crimes, Reno promised "an effective, vigorous, but fair environmental effort." Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.147 & 171 Apr 1, 1993 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Emphasized aggressive civil rights enforcement

Reno's concerns ranged from commitments to aggressive civil rights enforcement in order to promote diversity and economic equity to the elimination of discrimination based on sexual preferences. Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed.; Gale Group Jan 1, 1999 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Civil rights must be aggressively protected by government

Q: Your hopes for White House Conference on Hate Crimes? A: A clear understanding of how the federal government can work with local officials to focus on hate crimes. It is my hope that we can come out of the conference with every community dedicated to building an effective effort to deal with hate crimes. We're also working with the Department of Education to develop a curriculum for the schools that deals with hate crime. Source: NEA Today: Online Interview Jan 1, 1998

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Against mandatory sentencing for nonviolent crimes

As US attorney general, Reno's emphases represented a reorientation from the strategies of increased incarceration and rampant prison building stressed by Republicans. She criticized mandatory sentencing for nonviolent offenses and advocated alternative sentences to permit the use of prison cells for dangerous offenders and persistent recidivists as well as major drug traffickers. Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed.; Gale Group Jan 1, 1999 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Opposes death penalty, but willing to apply it

I was personally opposed to the death penalty, and yet I think I have probably asked for the death penalty more than most people in the United States. I had concluded when I was the prosecutor that I would vote against the death penalty if I were in the legislature but that I could ask for it when I was satisfied as to guilt and to the proper application of the penalty. Source: Interview with Jim Lehrer Nov 23, 1998 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Q: Should there be tougher penalties for juveniles who commit violent crimes? A: I think you've got to take each child, judge what the crime was, whether he has remorse and understands the implications of what was done. One of the most difficult problems is a child who does not have a supportive family. All the penalties in the world won't make any difference if you don't have after-care. Source: NEA Today: Online Interview Jan 1, 1998 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

White collar crime a top priority

White collar crime is one of our top priorities, but white collar crime that preys on particularly fragile people or people at risk is even more important. So we have tried to make sure that the FBI and the U.S. attorneys provide the resources necessary. Source: AARP Interview Oct 1, 1997 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Constitutional admentment to protect victims' rights

A constitutional amendment provides the best means to protect the rights of crime victims. Unless the Constitution is amended to ensure basic rights to crime victims, we will never correct the existing imbalance in this country between defendants' constitutional rights and the current haphazard patchwork of victims' rights. While a person arrested for a crime, he is guaranteed certain basic minimum protection under our nation's most fundamental law, the victim of that crime has no guarantee of rights beyond those that happen to be provided and enforced in the particular jurisdiction where the crime occurred. A victims' rights amendment would ensure that courts will give weight to the interests of victims. Source: Statement to Judiciary Committee Jun 25, 1997 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Incarcerate repeat offenders; alternatives for first offense

Attorney General Janet Reno has several key priorities: Reduce crime and violence by incarcerating serious, repeat offenders and finding alternative forms of punishment for first time, non-violent offenders. Focus on prevention and early intervention efforts to keep children away from gangs, drugs and violence and on the road to strong, healthy and self-sufficient lives. Enforce civil rights laws to ensure equal opportunity for all Americans. Source: Women's International Center web site, www.wic.org Feb 11, 1997 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Post-Waco review vindicated Reno & blamed Koresh

[In the wake of 75 deaths in the FBI attack on the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, an independent probe found] "this was the final act of a man who held himself out to be God." The report dismissed the two primary reasons cited by Reno as justification of her decision to use tear gas. First, there was no evidence that abuse of children continued after the standoff began. Second, it would have been possible to rotate in relief agents to spell the exhausted Hostage Rescue Team, though the replacements wouldn't have been as well-trained. So Reno had been wrong. But there was no stronger criticism of her in the report than the mention in a footnote that, on the day she authorized the use of tear gas, she "did not read the prepared statement carefully. The New York Times called the findings "The Waco Whitewash." Reno said she didn't consider the report a whitewash. "I wasn't looking for vindication." There was no single reason she authorized the assault, she said; it was an accumulation of factors. Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.212-216 May 13, 1993 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Called Waco "the worst day of my life"

Reno awakened at 5 AM on April 19, thinking about the children at the besieged Branch Davidian compound. Final preparations were under way for the FBI raid she had authorized. It was her 38th day as attorney general. She would later call it the worst day of her life. It also was the day that made her a star. For 50 days the cult's messianic leader, David Koresh, had been barricaded in the 70-acre compound with 94 followers by his side. The crisis began after a bungled attempt by the ATF to serve a search warrant. In the ensuing shootout, 4 ATF members & 6 cult members were killed. Reno announced the FBI assault plan [after concluding] that waiting would only make matters worse. She insisted on some basic "rules of engagement": FBI agents would not fire at the compound, even if fired upon; and if the children were in any way threatened, the agents would back off. [After three attacks with CS2 gas, the compound burst into flame]. Authorities eventually found 75 bodies, including 25 children. Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.186-195 Apr 19, 1993 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Government & industry should join to fight Internet crime

Reno announced plans in 1999 to improve Internet security by encouraging companies and federal agencies to work together. In February of 2000, when some of the largest Internet sites were invaded and temporarily disabled by hackers, the Justice Department and the FBI were working with private industry to identify the computer vandals. She is looking into remedies and criminal charges that can be applied in computer crimes. Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed.; Gale Group Jan 1, 1999 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Coordinate national fight against Internet and other scams

Q: What about fraud against the elderly? A: I think fraud against the elderly is a significant problem. We have seen it in telemarketing and mail fraud. We also see it in some groups that provide home repairs. What we want to do is work with AARP and other organizations to make sure that we provide information on scams that cut across state lines, that we work with the National Association of Attorneys General and the National District Attorneys Association. Source: AARP Interview Oct 1, 1997 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justice stressing housing, employment, education & policing

I would like to highlight four areas which reflect our commitment to combating discrimination. First is fair housing and fair lending. Second is employment and affirmative action. Third is education. And fourth is the building of trust between law enforcement and the minority community. The Department of Justice is committed to our mission which is, simply stated, to enforce the civil rights laws of this nation as vigorously and as faithfully as possible without fear or favor. Source: Speech to Baptist Church, Birmingham AL Jan 15, 1997 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Justice supports democracy & economic opportunity

The last eight years have been an opportunity to use law to make America safer, freer, and to give people more equal opportunity. Our democracy is a fragile institution. Unless all the people are involved, the law is weakened. If people are left out, if they can't get jobs, if they can't get their civil rights restored, they become angry and alienated, and we are weaker and lower for it. Source: Graduation speech at George Washington Law School, Wash. DC May 27, 2001 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Miami relatives broke US law by not giving Elian to father

The INS determined that only Juan Miguel Gonzalez could speak for his son on immigration matters. From that moment, I could have taken action to return Elian to his father, but I did not. Instead, I gave the relatives a chance to challenge my decision in federal district court. They did, and the court sided with the government. That is why I finally directed the relatives to turn over the child nine days ago. When Lazaro Gonzalez didn't comply, parole and care was revoked. That means that for the past nine days, Lazaro Gonzalez has not had lawful custody of Elian. When the INS places an unaccompanied child into the care of an adult, that adult is required to comply with the directives of the INS. To maintain, as the Miami relatives did, that the INS somehow lacks authority over the immigration parole of a minor in the US, simply ignores the law. Source: Press statement on Elian Gonzalez Apr 22, 2000 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Prosecuted 1000s of Cubans from Mariel boatlift

In April 1980 Fidel Castro threw open the harbor at the fishing port of Mariel to allow boats to come and go. For years Castro had been irritated with American immigration policy, which treated Cubans differently from other foreigners. Any Cuban who made it to American soil could expect asylum. With the opening of Mariel, Cuban-Americans jumped into boats and headed south to pick up friends and relatives left in Cuba. When they arrived in Mariel, Castro's soldiers filled the boats with the occupants of Cuba's jails and hospital wards for the criminally insane. "Castro was snookering us," Reno said. Dade County bore the brunt of it. In less than 5 months, more than 120,000 Cubans entered Miami. Many of the so-called Marielitos found their way into Latin American drug networks. Reno's office, already overworked, was overwhelmed. Her 130 prosecutors handled more than 25,000 felony cases in 1980-81, up from 15,000 in 1977-78. Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p. 85-86 Apr 1, 1980 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Can change culture of violence with conflict resolution

I have a dream that everybody graduating from a school of education with a teaching certificate will have coursework in how to teach kids how to resolve conflicts without knives and guns. I have a dream that we will teach every police officer in basic law enforcement academies the same skills. I am convinced that if we focus on the illegal possession and use of guns, if we focus on conflict resolution, we can change the culture of violence. Source: Press Conference of Criminal Justice Journalists Nov 23, 1998 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As hard to get a gun license as to get a driver's license

President Clinton signed the Brady bill, and the Bradys vowed to press on for even stricter gun controls, with the support of Clinton and Reno. Sarah Brady said at the signing ceremony that there was "one other woman" in the fight, "the attorney general herself." Brady enthused, "She's been right along with us." Within days of signing the Brady bill, Clinton ordered a study of a national gun-licensing system. Reno had been advocating such a system for years. She saw it in simple terms: "I think it should at least as hard to get a license to possess a gun as it is to drive an automobile." And if safety on the road means drivers must prove proficiency behind the wheel, why shouldn't gun owners be required to prove that they can safely handle a firearm? she asked. An NRA gun-safety course would be just fine. The administration also proposed raising the fee for gun dealer's licenses. [When the NRA protested], Reno responded that owning a gun, like driving a car, is a privilege, not a right. Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.306-307 Nov 30, 1993 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Battle the NRA with common sense

Reno's influence was clear in [several provisions of Clinton's Crime Bill. Among other things, the Bill would] impose a five-day waiting period for purchasing a handgun-the so-called Brady Bill. Reno called the package "essential." She also promised to pursue a full ban on assault weapons, although lawmakers saw that as too high a hurdle to include in the bill. Reno advocated passage of the bill on all the morning television news shows, in speeches around the country, and even in a promotion for a movie. The National Rifle Association (NRA) labeled the bill "short on criminal justice and long on firearms restrictions." When asked how she would "battle the powerful NRA," Reno replied, "You battle `the powerful NRA' with common sense. America has for too long watched what guns have done to people on our streets." Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.297-299 Sep 15, 1993 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Re-create family & community by prosecuting family crimes

She prosecuted child abuse; pursued delinquent fathers; introduced innovations in drug courts; and worked to provide for abandoned crack babies, to set up shelters for battered women, and to organize centers for children experiencing violence. Reno said, "recreating families and community [was] the only way to break the cycle of poverty, ignorance, and rage that causes the everyday tragedies-child abuse, rape, domestic violence, drug addiction, senseless murder and mayhem-that afflict society. Source: Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed.; Gale Group Jan 1, 1999 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Health care & education are building blocks of healthy kids

Here are the building blocks that I trying to pull together: A focus on domestic violence, health care, educare in the zero-through-three and zero-through-five [age range] through Headstart. Another building block is education, whether it be in those early years or in what we do to enhance teaching by reducing class size. Source: Press Conference of Criminal Justice Journalists Nov 23, 1998 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Do more for early intervention, as well as street work

[At her Senate confirmation hearings as Attorney General], asked by Senator Orrin Hatch about her priorities in the war against drugs, Reno said, "I want to do more in terms of early intervention, but I do not want to relax the fight against drugs on our streets." She favored "vigorous enforcement against traffickers, against anybody who would deal in this human misery." Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.173 Mar 9, 1993 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Undercover cocaine investigations despite DEA protests

In July 1979, in a bloody shootout in the Dadeland mall, Miami's cocaine cowboys exploded into public consciousness [and became the basis for the TV show "Miami Vice"]. Reno and other officials blamed the federal government for not halting the flow of illegal drugs, especially cocaine, into Florida. As the violence escalated, Reno spoke out. "The security of South Florida must be protected,: she declared. "That security has been impaired by drug traffickers and illegal aliens. The US has the resources to make our borders secure." In a case dubbed the "Video Canary," Reno's investigators worked undercover to track drug smugglers. Local DEA agents objected, claiming it was more important to stop the shipments before they hit the streets than to pursue the limits of the ring. The operation deadlocked. Reno often cited the conflicts in the Video Canary case as an example of how the feds could stifle creative work by state and local officials. Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p. 86-88 Jul 2, 1979 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Advocates broad partnership to protect US infrastructure

Intricate networks, power grids and computer systems make up what we call our national infrastructure. If that infrastructure is attacked, we all suffer. That is why we must protect it. At the Department of Justice, we have launched the National Infrastructure Protection Center. The mission is to detect, prevent and respond to cyber attacks. It is a true interagency, public-private partnership. Source: Press Briefing on Terrorism, Washington DC Jan 22, 1999 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Don't force women to have children when they're not ready

"We've got to make sure that parents are old enough, wise enough, and financially able enough to take care of their children, and that they are taught parenting skills that enable them to be responsible parents." Within this statement-Reno's mantra about the responsibilities of parenthood-lies one of the pillars of her support for the right to abortion: a woman should not be forced to bear a child if she is not ready to be a parent. Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.262-263 May 12, 1993 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Supports clinic access law & criminalizing obstruction

Within two weeks of being sworn in, Reno endorsed a bill introduced by Senator Edward Kennedy that would guarantee access to abortion clinics. She addressed constitutional concerns by helping draft amendments to the bill that balance protestors' right of free speech with the right of access to clinics. "A woman's right to choose whether to terminate a pregnancy is fundamental," Reno testified to the committee considering Kennedy's bill. She endorsed the bill's criminal sanctions against those committing violence against clinic personnel and patients, threatening providers, pr obstructing or destroying clinics. Though she acknowledged protestors' right of free speech and the "extraordinarily delicate balance that we have to strike between the rights of all people involved," she yielded no ground when challenged by antiabortion senators who claimed that the access law would be held unconstitutional. Source: Doing the Right Thing, by Paul Anderson, p.263 May 12, 1993 ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~