At Last, Some Public Shame for Mary Beth Buchanan

Friday, June 5th, 2009

Mary Beth Buchanan’s expensive, high-profile, politically-loaded pursuit of Pittsburgh-area medical examiner Cyril Wecht has finally come to an end.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette says it’s time for her career to do the same.

When it finally came time to acknowledge the inevitable and seek to dismiss the charges, the U.S. attorney couldn’t resist taking one last stab at vindication, saying of Dr. Wecht, “He wasn’t acquitted of anything. It was a hung jury. However, in our society, everyone is innocent until proven guilty.”

Indeed. And as Ms. Buchanan spectacularly failed to prove Dr. Wecht’s guilt, that last insinuation of guilt was inappropriate. It is time for Ms. Buchanan to take responsibility for her failure and resign before President Barack Obama asks for her resignation, which he could not now be blamed for doing.

If President Obama is reluctant to pursue any sort of sanctions against the people who politicized the Justice Department for fear of appearing vindictive, he should at least take the time to review possible incidences of wrongful prosecution by the Bush administration’s more bloodthirsty U.S. attorneys.

He could start with Buchanan and the case of Dr. Bernard Rottschaefer.

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19 Responses to “At Last, Some Public Shame for Mary Beth Buchanan”

  1. #1 |  John Jenkins | 

    The President does not have to ask for the resignation of a U.S. Attorney. All U.S. Attorney’s are subject to removal by the President. 28 U.S.C. § 541.

    Should the President want her gone, she will be.

  2. #2 |  Cynical in CA | 

    My money’s on Mary Beth staying right where she is.

    I expect to see her latest outrage discussed in depth on this very blog within 3 months.

    Mary Beth Buchanan is a loyal tool of the State, and such behavior is rewarded.

  3. #3 |  Rick H. | 

    I’m with Cynical. That editorial seemed much tamer to me than expected – no “public shame” considering the horrible, evil shit that authoritarian creep has done. She won’t be touched by some editorial board’s mild complaint about high budgetary costs.

  4. #4 |  JS | 

    Yea I’m with Cynical too. Unfortunately I usually am these days. She’s not going anywhere.

  5. #5 |  Mojotron | 

    the best part was where he compared her to LeBron James and also said:
    “With Iraq, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, the economy and healthcare plan, smugglers from Mexico, swine flu and pirates in Somalia, I can’t understand how President Obama has considered all of those to be a greater priority than replacing Mary Beth Buchanan,” Dr. Wecht said with a smile.

    I thought she’d be going away as well, but even though she’s the DA for Pittsburgh she’s in charge of the case against a DEA agent in Cleveland who was framing people?

  6. #6 |  Cynical in CA | 

    From the Trib article:

    “On May 14, U.S. District Judge Sean McLaughlin of Erie, who took control of the case after the mistrial, dismissed all the evidence for the remaining counts. [He] ruled that FBI agents used improper search warrants … Buchanan said she felt her office could have successfully challenged the judge’s ruling on the computer but doubted it could have overturned his ruling on the boxes.”

    Wasn’t there a recent USSC decision regarding the admissibility of illegally obtained evidence, which had the effect of permitting the type of evidence noted above?

    If so, sounds like one huge CYA operation to me. How convenient. No need to worry about the embarrassment of an outright acquittal.

    Dr. Wecht’s comment is ironic (intentionally?). Obama doesn’t have a snowball’s chance in hell of solving any of the problems he listed (State-creations all), but he could easily solve the problem of Buchanan — thus Obama’s priorities are hopelessly screwed up, unless that is the point.

  7. #7 |  Michael Pack | 

    The sad thing is this women is not the exception but the rule,on down to the local level.The war on drugs,D.U.I.,and teenage behavior show how far prosecutors will go to nail a hide to the wall.

  8. #8 |  DaveG | 

    She got tommy chong though. The tapes of the DEA calling Chong Glass to try to set them up to mail bongs to PA, are hysterical.
    After repeatedly refusing to mail bongs, the DEA guys place a huge order for glass bongs and say they are going to pick them up in California and drive them back by truck, then after they filled the order the DEA said they could not pick them up so the shipped them to PA, and then they were nailed. Even though it was tommy chongs son and his friends running the business, they wanted tommy and sent him to jail

  9. #9 |  James | 

    Former Attorney General and Governor Dick Thornburgh commented to the press after the dismissal of the charges against Dr. Wecht that he anticipated a replacement for Mary Beth Buchanan to be named soon.

  10. #10 |  Dave Krueger | 

    One thing that always pissed me off after OJ was acquitted, was the incessant harping by the prosecutors Darden and Clark about how he was guilty anyway and the jury was to blame.

    In my most humble opinion, when someone is acquitted, that’s the government’s cue to shut the fuck up.

  11. #11 |  ktc2 | 

    Can you shame (publicly or otherwise) a shameless parasite?

    I think not.

  12. #12 |  James | 

    Dave Krueger,

    This case is vastly different than OJ Simpson’s case. In the case of Dr. Wecht, the prosecution dropped all the charges voluntarily. A week prior to the initial trial, the prosecution dropped over 40 charges against Dr. Wecht. Wecht’s lawyers were enraged by this action since Dr. Wecht and his lawyers had spent countless hours and money preparing to defend him from these charges as well. Wecht’s lawyers to this day believe the delay in the dismissal of these charges was meant to run the meter on Dr. Wecht’s defense.

    After a hung jury in which contrary to Ms. Buchanan’s assertion, the majority of jurors favored acquittal, Buchanan’s team dropped the charges down to 14 that centered around allegedly using a county fax machine to send out travel reimbursements claims for Wecht’s private practice. The reimbursements allegedly were high by the tune of a couple hundred dollars. So when Wecht is billing out at probably $500 dollars per hour, Buchanan is going after him for alleged fraud that was less than $1,000 in total. A point to note is that none of Wecht’s private clients who recieved these invoices had any issue with them and none of the clients agreed to testify against Wecht.

    In the end, Buchanan was forced to dismiss these charges as well.

    So after years of investigative resources and DOJ court resources, Buchanan ended up voluntarily dismissing everything.

  13. #13 |  Dave Krueger | 

    #12 James

    Dave Krueger,

    This case is vastly different than OJ Simpson’s case.

    I didn’t imply otherwise. I simply commented on one aspect: the prosecution’s suggestion that the defendant was guilty even after he was acquitted.

  14. #14 |  Red Green | 

    Yeah , the witchuntress will be allowed to resign in order that she be spared any further embarrassment. I wonder if there are any figures that expose just how much money she spent in all the persecutions. I also wonder which cushy lobbying firm will pick her up.

  15. #15 |  chance | 

    “We decided the right thing to do at this point is to dismiss the case,” Buchanan said.

    Interesting choice of words on her part.

  16. #16 |  nemo | 

    “Les Miserables”, anyone? Ms. Buchanan must have read it and thought Inspector Javert a role model.

    I’ve always contended that people seeking office where their actions can have negative consequences on society need psych evaluations before they’re given access to the levers and buttons of power. I’d suspect the vast majority of such are exactly as Nietzsche described them:

    “But thus do I counsel you, my friends: distrust all in whom the impulse to punish is powerful! They are people of bad race and lineage; out of their countenances peer the hangman and the sleuth-hound. Distrust all those who talk much of their justice! Verily, in their souls not only honey is lacking. And when they call themselves ‘the good and just,’ forget not, that for them to be Pharisees, nothing is lacking but — power!”

    The ranks of the DrugWarriors are rife with them. They remind me of the nerdy, dweebish kids in high school, always on the social outs, and not entirely blameless for that because of their judgmental attitudes towards others. Such seem to gravitate towards positions of power in this society and inevitably cause tons of misery once they achieve them. Mary Beth’s a perfect example…

  17. #17 |  Erica White | 

    Mary Beth Is Toast, for any future Federal Appointments as well. She is back to Private Practice.

  18. #18 |  Lunch Links | The Agitator | 

    […] Mary Beth Buchanan criticized for improper travel expenses during her time as U.S. Attorney. She had better hope the new U.S. Attorney is more lenient with her than she was with, say, Cyril Wecht. […]

  19. #19 |  Lunch Links | The Agitator | 

    […] Mary Beth Buchanan criticized for improper travel expenses during her time as U.S. Attorney. She had better hope the new U.S. Attorney is more lenient with her than she was with, say, Cyril Wecht. […]