Pell Center

The Pell Center for International Relations and Public Policy at Salve Regina is a multidisciplinary research center focused at the intersection of politics, policies and ideas.

Power and Accountability in America’s Justice System with Elie Honig

Air Dates: July 10-16, 2023

Justice is supposed to be blind.  But Elie Honig says that individuals blessed with power, fame, and money have advantages in the criminal justice unavailable to most Americans.

Honig is a former New Jersey and federal prosecutor with extensive experience leading and managing criminal trials and appeals.  He provides strategic advice to individuals and businesses in government-facing investigations as well as counsel on internal investigations.  Honig previously served as Director of the Department of Law and Public Safety at the New Jersey Division of Criminal Justice, where he directed major criminal cases against street gangs, drug trafficking organizations, illegal firearms traffickers, corrupt public officials, child predators, and white-collar offenders.  Under his leadership, statewide law enforcement introduced new initiatives to address emerging criminal threats, including post-Sandy fraud, cybercrime, human trafficking, and prescription opioid abuse.  Before joining the Division of Criminal Justice, Honig worked for eight years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, where he successfully prosecuted more than 100 members and associates of La Cosa Nostra, including bosses and other high-ranking members of the Gambino and Genovese organized crime families.  He has tried 15 cases to jury verdict and has argued over 20 cases in the federal appellate courts and the New Jersey Supreme Court.  He currently works with partners in the White-Collar Criminal Defense practice as a key advisor on investigations and trial strategy at Lowenstein Sandler.  He is also a CNN Legal Analyst and leverages his prosecutorial and trial experience to offer informed commentary on timely legal and government issues.

On this episode of “Story in the Public Square,” Honig dives into his book “Untouchable: How Powerful People Get Away With It” and the factors that contribute to the wealthy and powerful faring better than the average citizen and minorities in the American justice system.  Regarding the role of the average citizen in this issue, Honig says, “it starts with our decision makers, and so I think that comes down to voting, that comes down to petitioning government, all the First Amendment rights.”  He adds, “free speech, not electing prosecutors who are too timid, electing policy makers who are ready and willing to enact legislative change and demanding accountability.  I hope that my book was one small part of bringing awareness to this issue so that people can identify these problems and help push us towards solutions.”

“Story in the Public Square” broadcasts each week on public television stations across the United States. A full listing of the national television distribution is available at this link. In Rhode Island and southeastern New England, the show is broadcast on Rhode Island PBS on Sundays at 11:00 a.m. and is rebroadcast Thursdays at 7:30 p.m. An audio version of the program airs Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. ET, Sundays at 4:30 a.m., 2:30 p.m. 9:30 p.m. ET, and Monday 2:30 a.m. ET, on SiriusXM’s popular P.O.T.U.S. (Politics of the United States), channel 124. “Story in the Public Square” is a project of the Pell Center at Salve Regina University. The initiative aims to study, celebrate and tell stories that matter.