The joke about Sullivan hiring anyone as a policy adviser is that Sullivan’s policy has been fixed since he first started out as a DA: Go for the maximum charge for just about every offender. Sullivan refuses to cut plea deals (though Tom Finneran managed to get one), instead demanding that his prosecutors pile charges on a defendant, often using previous convictions at the state level to trigger higher mandatory-minimum sentences and boost the severity of the federal charges.So be prepared to be treated like someone who committed murder with a stolen gun just because you wrote "Y" instead of "Yes."
This approach has created friction between Sullivan’s office and federal judges, who find his philosophy mindless and demeaning not just to defendants but also to attorneys, judges, and Lady Justice herself. In 2004, two federal judges offered rare public rebukes of Sullivan’s tactics. U.S. District Court Judge Mark Wolf castigated Sullivan for tying up the courts with penny-ante street-crime cases , and U.S. District Court Judge William Young hammered Sullivan’s office for evincing “a moral code more suited to the alleys of Baghdad than the streets of Boston” and adopting a mindset that “reveals such callous indifference to innocent human life as would gag any fair-minded observer.”
Sullivan has often said he doesn’t care if he annoys judges; by his reckoning, the more cases you’ve gotten to trial, the more successful you’ve been, so he’s just kept on pushing more through each year, in the process racking up some of the longest average sentences of any U.S. attorney in the country. But beyond drawing the ire of jurists, Sullivan’s methods have also insulted his own staff. U.S. attorneys working a case typically arrive at a plea deal they feel adequately punishes the defendant while at the same time avoiding a lengthy, costly trial. They then bring the proposed deal to a supervisor for approval, and it continues up the chain from there. Sources say that previous U.S. attorneys, from Bill Weld to Donald K. Stern, took the position that their employees had some idea of what they were doing. Under Sullivan it’s been different. Prosecutors have labored to find what they feel is an appropriate resolution to a case, only to see their agreement rejected out of hand by the boss months later, with an admonishment to go back and seek the maximum charge. Former staffers say the practice has had a disastrous effect on morale, leaving the rank and file to feel they’re merely cogs in Sullivan’s machine.
And when those cogs squeak, sources say, they sometimes find themselves removed from the picture.
He's only enforcing existing laws. Remember that.
More on Sullivan at The War On Guns.