Posts From: October 5th, 2010

Another Study Shows Widespread Prosecutorial Misconduct, Little Sanction

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

In my last column, I wrote about a USA Today study finding more than 200 examples of misconduct among prosecutors in the federal criminal justice system, of which only one faced any serious sanction. (The paper ran a follow-up last week which found that even when the suspect is eventually cleared of all charges in these cases, he still faces massive legal bills, often goes bankrupt, and is rarely reimbursed for his expenses.)

A new study of state prosecutors in California out this week comes to similar conclusions. The Northern California Innocence Project reviewed 4,000 cases between 1997 and 2009 and found prosecutorial misconduct in 707 of them (though they caution that this may underestimate the problem). In only six of those cases were prosecutors sanctioned by the California Bar. I wrote about one of those cases. The prosecutor’s boss, Santa Clara County District Attorney Delores Carr, responded by attempting to strip the state bar’s ability to discipline prosecutors.

This latest study again confirms what we’ve seen in similar reviews: prosecutors are almost never sanctioned for misconduct, even egregious violations that lead to wrongful convictions.

Both studies are worth keeping in mind in the coming months as the Supreme Court again considers the degree to which prosecutors should be shielded from civil liability.

A Philosophical Question

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

I posed this scenario to a political science class last night. I thought Agitator readers would be interested in pondering it, too.

You’re the captain of a small yacht. A group of media elites has rented your yacht for a private party. Mid-cruise, Glenn Beck and Keith Olbermann get into a heated argument. Pushing and shoving ensues. Both fall overboard. The sea around them is rough and infested with sharks. Without quick action they’ll surely drown or be eaten. You only have one life preserver.

Hence, the conundrum.

Do you (a) open a nice bottle of wine, or (b) slip below deck to take in a movie?

Watch Me on Bullshit!

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

Looks like my episode of Bullshit! is now available on YouTube, at least for the time being. My appearances begin in part two, but I’d encourage you to watch the whole thing. It’s really a fantastic episode all-around.

Plus, gratuitous nudity!

Ridiculous Obama Criticism of the Week

Tuesday, October 5th, 2010

CM Capture 2Larry Kudlow:

Am I the only one who saw weakness when President Obama and his departing chief of staff Rahm Emanuel gave each other big, fat, full-bore hug following their speeches at the resignation event in the White House’s East Room on Friday?

Remember, this is on global television. And it has to do with the very top of the United States government. Our friends and enemies were all watching.

I think the hug lacked dignity. It did not send a message of American power and forcefulness. So I fret about the reaction around the world to this kind of fraternity-like emotionalism in full public view.

Why not just a dignified, stand-up, serious handshake? That’s what Reagan would have done. A strong handshake shows friendship, respect, and even affection. But a big fat hug seems to go over the line.

Perhaps I’m overreacting to this. But when it comes to the presidency and the behavior of our top leaders, I think the image we want to send at home and abroad is one of serious strength of purpose. Not some kind of collegiate squeeze. Somehow the Obama-Emanuel embrace seemed demeaning — to the presidency, to our officialdom, and to our strength of purpose.

Let’s cross ‘em off: Barely-veiled homophobia? Check. Vague, imperialistic prattle about “projecting strength”? Check. Ridiculous attempt to make political hay of Obama’s personal actions and mannerisms? Check. Rhetorical rogering of Ronald Reagan’s corpse? Check! Strong, strong showing, Mr. Kudlow!

Up next, does Obama’s embrace of the pedestrian four-in-hand tie knot—as opposed to the aristocratic Windsor favored by his predecessors—signal his secret Marxism? BigGovernment.com investigates!