Foxes Shouldn’t Guard the Chicken Coop

Following is an excerpt from an NPR article that’s worth preserving for posterity. It relates to the recent dismissal of the conviction against Alaska Senator Ted Stevens.  Judge Emmett Sullivan was apparently flabbergasted by rampant prosecutorial misconduct:

Again and again, [the judge] said, the government was caught making false representations and failing to meet what it knew was its obligation to turn over information that was potentially favorable to the defense. The fair administration of justice, he said, should not depend on the luck of the draw — it should not depend on who represents a defendant or whether an FBI agent blows the whistle or whether there is a new administration or a new attorney general or a new trial team.

“Whether you are a public official or a private citizen or a Guantanamo detainee,” he said, “the government has an obligation to produce exculpatory evidence so that justice can be done.

“The events of this case are too numerous and serious to leave to an internal inquiry by the Justice Department,” Sullivan said.

Judge Sullivan not only dismissed the conviction but went a step further by appointing a special prosecutor to investigate the malfeasants.

Definitely the right decision, in my opinion. Self-policing is to abuse of power what accelerant is to flame, or, as Mark Bennet recently commented, Impunity + Badges = Abuse. Yes, prosecutors get badges, too.

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