As featured on p. 218 of "Bloggers on the Bus," under the name "a MyDD blogger."

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Holder Releases The Hulk

Liberals are likely to be upset about news that Eric Holder is dismissing the indictment of Ted Stevens, but I'd advise them to read Holder's statement.

"In connection with the post-trial litigation in United States v. Theodore F. Stevens, the Department of Justice has conducted a review of the case, including an examination of the extent of the disclosures provided to the defendant. After careful review, I have concluded that certain information should have been provided to the defense for use at trial. In light of this conclusion, and in consideration of the totality of the circumstances of this particular case, I have determined that it is in the interest of justice to dismiss the indictment and not proceed with a new trial.

"The Department's Office of Professional Responsibility will conduct a thorough review of the prosecution of this matter. This does not mean or imply that any determination has been made about the conduct of those attorneys who handled the investigation and trial of this case.

"The Department of Justice must always ensure that any case in which it is involved is handled fairly and consistent with its commitment to justice. Under oftentimes trying conditions, the attorneys who serve in this Department live up to those principles on a daily basis. I am proud of them and of the work they do for the American people."

Christy Hardin Smith has more about the shoddy work from prosecutors in this case, which probably would have caused a reversal on appeal somewhere down the line. Prosecutors failed to turn over exculpatory information to the defense, which is simply inexcusable. Christy writes:

Using this case as an example of what will NOT be tolerated is as good a place to start as any for Holder.

It is beyond disgusting that a skeezeball like Ted Stevens can walk away from all the pocket-lining he did whilst in office because the prosecutors on the case were too craven to follow basic legal principles. But there you are. The vaunted DOJ has fallen to such a level, and it will take an enormous amount of work to lift it back up to where it ought to be.

Here's to much more internal review and reform to come at DOJ.

Whether you think attorneys bungled the case intentionally because Stevens was a Republican or not (the lead prosecutor was a career hire, so I don't agree; they just screwed up and should be fired, actually), it is distasteful to allow justice to be perverted in this way. Put it this way - Alberto Gonzales wouldn't dismiss this case if it involved a Democrat, and it would have been overturned in court, and they would look silly. Holder needs to exercise some equanimity in this regard - Don Siegelman's case deserves a look - but the rule of law is more important than an old coot in Alaska.

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