Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Feds drop charges against former Senator Ted Stevens

While the right-wing blogosphere is crowing about this, I'd like to point out that while the charges were dropped, it was because of prosecutorial misconduct, *not* because Stevens was exonerated.

And I'd like to point out that it was misconduct by Bush-era prosecutors.

Now I have no doubt that Stevens is dirty, but *everybody*, even people that are thoroughly corrupt, deserve a fair trial. It's a basic tenet of our system of laws that everyone, from the lowest street-level drug dealers to the highest-flying politicians and corporate executives, gets a fair shot in court when they face criminal charges (whether or not those politicians and corporate executives face trial as often as they should is a discussion best left for another day).

The upshot of this is that Attorney General Eric Holder's move today signals a return to the rule of law, something that has been missing from the U.S. for eight years.

And that is bigger news than the dropping of one set of charges.


Thane Eichenauer said...

Maybe he will now run for office here in Arizona...? The power of the ring seems to have quite a hold on him.

And even though Stevens still seems like a crooked guy I too am happy that justice is still quite popular in America.

Eli Blake said...

I agree that the important thing to be learned here is that the win-at-all-costs mindset that has sometimes resulted in innocent people being sent to prison (and does little about fixing the opposite problem, when the guilty beat the rap), will no longer be tolerated.

Where police and prosecutors have gotten lazy, maybe they will need to go back to doing the old fashioned gumshoe work of collecting evidence, and figuring out how to beat the defense argument even when all the evidence is known.