"The United States wins its case whenever justice is done one of its citizens in the courts."

Inscription
US Department of Justice Building
Washington, DC

The quotation, once credited to Frederick W. Lehmann, was also mentioned by Simon Sobeloff on June 29, 1954 and in the 1963 Supreme Court case of Brady v Maryland:

"Society wins not only when the guilty are convicted, but when criminal trials are fair; our system of the administration of justice suffers when any accused is treated unfairly.

"An inscription on the walls of the Department of Justice states the proposition candidly for the federal domain: The United States wins its point whenever justice is done its citizens in the courts.

"A prosecution that withholds evidence on demand of an accused which, if made available, would tend to exculpate him or reduce the penalty helps shape a trial that bears heavily on the defendant. That casts the prosecutor in the role of an architect of a proceeding that does not comport with standards of justice, even though, as in the present case, his action is not the result of guile."

The principle is an admonition to the state and its prosecutors that it, too, is always on trial; that it does not strive to win at all costs but must hold the banner and the standard of justice; that the federal government, when a participant in civil or criminal litigation, has not the sole duty to win.

As Sobeloff added in 1954, in his first year as Solicitor General for the United States, a position also held by Lehmann:

"My client's chief business is not to achieve victory but to establish justice."

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