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The Perry Indictment in One Picture

Barack Obama's Dead Fly's photo.
It's hard to know whether it's more hilarious or more deranged that those who for years have been in high camp attacking morally decrepit prosecutors' offices are now outraged that Rick Perry is trying  --  through the exotic malfeasance of vetoing an appropriations bill  -- to de-fund a prosecutor's office run by a foul-mouthed drunken jailbird.

Is it just Monday, or did I wake up on a different planet?

(Picture courtesy of reader TarlsQtr).


So Bill, are you here agreeing that those of us concerned that some prosecutors are "morally decrepit" have had a point all along?

And do you acknowledge that the political process in Texas, at least so far, has done a pretty poor job of getting at least one "morally decrepit" prosecutor out of her job?

Doug --

1. Would you mind quoting the passage where I said there are no prosecutorial bad apples?

Of course I never said it, and your attack here is diversionary. The only serious question is what process should be employed to deal with the bad apples.

Like Gov. Perry, I prefer the political process, which is no doubt slow, balky and full of its own problems. Your prefer the judicial process, so that unelected saints like Alcee Hastings, Walter Nixon and Harry Claiborne can do their thing.

2. "And do you acknowledge that the political process in Texas, at least so far, has done a pretty poor job of getting at least one "morally decrepit" prosecutor out of her job?"

Absolutely I acknowledge it, because the political process has had a big monkey wrench thrown into it by the fruitcake Leftists who run the show in Travis County and have launched this indictment. Principled liberals like Alan Dershowitz and Johnathan Chait have denounced their charade. Will you now join them, and me, in doing so?

3. I'll bet you $100 to $10 here and now that this sleazy indictment never gets to a jury. Are we on?

We are making some progress here, Bill, though I hope you can/will confirm that you consider both Rosemary Lehmberg and Michael McCrum to be prosecutorial bad apples while we continue to discuss how be might best prevent prosecutorial bad apples from making an ugly hash of respectable laws and good policy.

1. I also generally prefer the political process for dealing dealing with bad apples, both prosecutorial and judicial. But I also think transparency and legal/review processes also can/should be part of the equation. I assume you agree that one way bad apple judges are kept in line is through the obligation that they explain their significant decision in open court and those decisions are subject to review by other judges. As a result, the harms that can be created by bad apple judges --- like Sam Kent and Richard Cebull and Jack Camp and Mark Fuller (to name a few more recent examples than your list --- are kept in check.

2. In another thread, I suggest sometimes requiring prosecutors explain their significant decisions publicly and have some decisions subject to review by other prosecutors. I think such a requirement would help shed more light on what seems like a crazy prosecution of Gov Perry by special prosecutor McCrum, though I am certainly prepared to assert that this indictment strikes me as crazy and deeply misguided. Candidly, mostly because McCrum is a former federal prosecutor and because Senators Cronyn and Hutchinson endorsed him to be a US Attorney, I am eager to hear his explanation for why he thinks indicting a sitting Gov for a seemingly lawful veto is not crazy and deeply misguided. But, absent a good account of how this make any sense, I am happy to denounce this action against Gov Perry and also to hold it up as yet another example of the injustice and inefficiency that hidden, unregulated, unexplained and unreviewable prosecutorial discretion can create. (Note: I still think you are quite wrong when asserting it would be unconstitutional to require prosecutors to sometimes explain their decisions.)

3. Assuming the Perry prosecution is as misguided as we both initially believe, I hope a judge in Texas has authority to prevent this indictment from getting to a jury. But I remain confused about what is so special about this setting that makes you so very happy and eager for a Texas state judge to be able to second-guess Special prosecutor McCrum's discretionary judgment here to pursue state criminal charges, but if he was made a US Attorney, you would be 100% against any federal judge having any authority to second-guess USA McCrum's discretionary judgment to pursue federa; criminal charges.

Again, I really this we are on the same page when we both recognize that there can be both judicial and prosecutorial bad apples and are debating the best ways to minimize the harms created by these bad apples. You seem to be excited for a state judge to have the power to minimize the harm in this crazy Perry case, and I wish you would then also see the virtue of a federal judge having some of that same power in the (rare) crazy federal case.

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