Prosecutorial Discretion

April 1, 2009 8:04 a.m.

Whatsoever some might think, given that I’m the one who created this site, I actually end up being a pretty big softie when it comes to the punishment side of these corruption stories. And in that vein, I think Eric Holder’s decision to abandon the Stevens prosecution is a good idea when you put the full context in view.

Stevens is 85 years old. He was tried and convicted. He lost his senate seat and ended his 40+ career in disgrace. Whatever the prosecutors did wrong — and it seems like they did a lot wrong, which we’ll get to in a minute — that doesn’t erase the fact that Stevens got a freebie home renovation from a wealthy contributor whose interests Stevens repeatedly and habitually service in Washington.

In this case, though, the prosecutorial misconduct appears to be of a non-trivial sort. So given his age, the disgrace he’s already suffered and the fact that future prosecution may be fatally undermined by the earlier prosecutorial wrongdoing, setting this whole effort aside makes sense. At least that’s how it seems to me on first blush.

And as long as we’re all in a generous mood, how about we get some justice for former Gov. Don Siegelman and those crook US Attorneys who sent him to the slammer on politically-trumped up charges probably ginned up by Karl Rove and his Alabama pals? And maybe some attention to reform of our national prison system Sen. Webb is pushing, because disgraced senators aren’t the only ones who need some wise exercise of mercy in the administration of justice. And our incarceration policies are a disgrace in themselves.

Let me know your thoughts.

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