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Friday, July 15, 2011

Roger Clemens Mistrial

This story is interesting. In a pre-trial ruling, the judge ordered that prosecutors could not introduce evidence of Andy Pettite's wife saying that her husband told her that Roger Clemens said he used steriods. That is hearsay and therefore not admissible evidence.

The prosecutors disobeyed the judge's order. The judge ordered a mistrial.

It makes no difference if the prosecutors disobeyed the order due to gross negligence, or on purpose. As US Attorneys, they should know better.

The US Attorneys are political appointees. Insiders pick which lawyers get to enforce their stupid laws. It is not a merit-based system. It is a corruption-based system.

This is unfair. The prosecutors broke the rules. They get a mulligan and can try again?

Shouldn't there be a penalty for the prosecutors who flagrantly disobeyed the judge's orders? Shouldn't they be jailed for contempt of court, fined, or have their law license suspended?

There should be no restrictions on what evidence a defendant can introduce or what arguments he is allowed to make. There should be restrictions on the prosecutor.

For example, someone who operated a medical marijuana store in California was prosecuted for violating Federal law. The judge barred his lawyers from mentioning that it was a California-legal medical marijuana store. That was obviously unfair.

Suppose that Roger Clemens' lawyer broke the rules. The judge would probably have jailed him for "contempt of court" and revoked his law license. Why do the prosecutors get away with disobeying a judge's direct order? They're supposed to know better.

Suppose Roger Clemens' lawyer made a "jury nullification" argument. He almost certainly would have been sanctioned. (Jury nullification is appropriate in this case, because "lying to Congress" isn't a real crime. It's OK for politicians and policemen to lie to you, but it's a serious crime for you to lie to them.)

Suppose that Roger Clemens' lawyer said "WTF? Doesn't the government have better things to do, than pursue my client? The banks stole trillions of dollars. They committed massive foreclosure fraud and perjury. Why weren't they prosecuted? Is this trial really worth all the money the government has spent?" His lawyer would probably have been sanctioned, if he said that.

Why should prosecutors get away with breaking the rules?

Maybe Roger Clemens' lawyer did a brilliant job during jury selection, and he was headed for an acquittal. All the prosecutor has to do is break the rules, and he gets to start over with a new jury?

Why not wait until after the trial was over, to award the mistrial? If the jury acquitted, then Roger Clemens goes free. If the jury convicted, then give Roger Clemens a new trial. Roger Clemens is unfairly disadvantaged by the prosecutor's error. Maybe the jury would have acquitted him anyway?

Why should the prosecutor get a mulligan, after flagrantly breaking the rules?

This isn't someone getting away with murder on a technicality. This is a trial that shouldn't have happened in the first place. So what if Roger Clemens took steroids and lied about it? Why should I care? He isn't going to break into my home and rob me or physically assault me. What is accomplished, by sending Roger Clemens to prison?

The job of a US attorney is literally to say "This person should be kidnapped and tortured." Most Federal trials are for things that are falsely treated as crimes. Most criminal trials are as stupid and pointless and wasteful as the Roger Clemens trial. It is relatively rare, when it's a clearcut real crime.

Roger Clemens is going to pay extra legal fees, due to the mistrial. Why should he be forced to pay his lawyers more, because the prosecutors broke the rules?

Why should I pay more in taxes, for this stupid pointless trial? Why should I pay more in taxes, for the cost of a re-trial, after the prosecutor flagrantly broke the law?

The Roger Clemens perjury trial was a farce from the beginning. More serious perjury has gone unprosecuted. Lehman Brothers' CEO and CFO should have been prosecuted under Sarbanes-Oxley for their Repo 105 accounting fraud. (Accounting fraud is a type of perjury.) Bank executives and lawyers forged mortgage foreclosure paperwork, clearcut perjury, and were not prosecuted.

Prosecutors are cracking down on Roger Clemens, who is a celebrity but not a true insider. This helps cover up the insiders who get away with crime. Public attention is focused on Roger Clemens and not real criminals.

It is offensive that prosecutors can break the rules and get away with it. Roger Clemens should get an acquittal due too the prosecutor's crime, but he won't. The prosecutors should be sanctioned, but that won't happen. Insiders who committed more serious crimes should be prosecuted, but that won't happen.

There are two justice systems, one for insiders and one for everyone else. A prosecutor is an insider. He can flagrantly disobey a judge's direct order with no negative consequences. A prosecutor can choose to pursue pointless show trials, while ignoring more serious crimes.

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