Thursday, August 27, 2015

Some say "pro-life". Some say "anti-choice". I say "hypocrite".

This may surprise regular readers (OK, not really :) ), but I know a lot of "pro-choice" folks; I don't know any who are "pro-abortion".

By the same token, I know many "anti-choice" people, but very few who truly qualify as "pro-life".

The loud people who oppose even the idea that women should have control of their bodies and access to complete healthcare services, including abortion services if they so choose, like to proclaim themselves to be "pro-life",  as they see themselves as "protecting" fetuses.

The people who disagree with them often refer to those people as "anti-choice" because most of them seem to stop caring about those fetuses once they become living children.

The anti-choicers say that "life begins at conception" but act is if life becomes irrelevant at birth.

This past Saturday (8/22/2015), there were protests and counter-protests at Planned Parenthood facilities across the country, including here in Arizona.  Their putative motivation for the protests this weekend was some selectively-edited and now-debunked videos that allegedly showed PP execs talking about selling body parts from aborted fetuses for profit.

On Saturday, the anti-choicers' show pony/headliner was Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, himself definitive evidence that someone can be "anti-choice" without being truly "pro-life".

A few examples:

- His handling of the Sean Pearce case.  In late 2013, Pearce, a senior deputy of one close political ally (Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio) and the son of another close ally (disgraced former state senate president Russell Pearce), was driving his Chevrolet Tahoe at more than twice the posted speed (specifically, 81 mph in 40 mph limit zone), when he hit another vehicle.

The driver of the other vehicle was killed in the accident.

After a "thorough" investigation, Montgomery decided that no charges were warranted.

Even though everyone that I know (including people who work inside the justice system) who saw the video of the incident said "prison time", or something close.  Meaning that any "normal" person (i.e. - not politically well-connected) would have been looking at some serious prison time.

But not Sean Pearce, the son of one of Montgomery's friends and a senior underling of another one.

Pearce was cited for excessive speed, and because the prosecution failed to inform the judge in the matter that someone died as a result of Pearce's actions, he was allowed to take a defensive driving course.

Meaning that he didn't even get points on his auto insurance record for killing someone.

He didn't quite get off scot-free for the death, but it was damn close.

- Then there's the case of Joshua Pearce, brother of Sean and another son of Russell.

In 2010, an infant daughter of Joshua Pearce suffered a fractured skull.  When the incident was investigated, police found that the stories of Joshua Pearce and wife did not jibe with the stories told by their other children.  In addition, a doctor determined that the injury could not have occurred the way that Pearce said it happened.

Still, the investigation was closed after Mesa PD and the office of Maricopa County Attorney determined that no charges were merited.

- Turning to the now-infamous case of Debra Milke.

In 1990 (well before Montgomery became county attorney) Milke was convicted in the murder of her son.  The police and the prosecution alleged that she conspired with two men to kill her son and had confessed to doing so.

The confession was unrecorded and was witnessed by only one detective.

It later came out that the detective had a history of lying and falsifying evidence to make cases, that the prosecution was aware of that record, and that the prosecution failed to disclose that record to the defense, as they were required to do.

In 2013, the conviction was overturned by an appeals court because of the misconduct by the prosecution.  The case was returned to the MCAO for further disposition.

Montgomery's office started the process to re-prosecute her.  When another judge ruled that the misconduct in the first prosecution was so egregious that jeopardy had attached and that she could not be retried.

In an attempt to return Milke to prison and death row, Montgomery appealed that ruling.  And lost.

- And then, of course, there is the Jodi Arias case.

After a long and incredibly expensive trial, Arias was convicted of the 2008 murder of her boyfriend.

Montgomery sought to have her sentenced to death.

The first sentencing jury deadlocked between imposing the death penalty and a sentence of life in prison, mandating that she receive a sentence of life in prison (death sentences must be unanimous).

Montgomery could have accepted that and moved on to other cases, but he wanted her to die.

So he appealed the sentence verdict, looking for a second sentencing trial.

He got that second sentencing trial, trying to have Arias killed.

And after the second sentencing trial, after running the costs for her prosecution and defense into the millions (both paid for by the taxpayers)...the second jury also deadlocked.

The prosecution gets only two bites at the sentencing apple, so Arias was sentenced to natural life in prison (aka - life without the possibility of parole).

So, to sum up -

Montgomery has declared himself a "protector of life", yet lets one killer off, seemingly to help a couple of political allies.

Montgomery has declared himself a "protector of life", but tried to have someone who was wrongfully convicted put back in prison and on death row after her conviction was vacated because the prosecution in her case cheated.  Horrendously.

Montgomery has declared himself a "protector of life", but he has forced the spending of millions of taxpayer dollars in a futile quest to have someone that he doesn't like killed.

And when it comes to protecting children, their health and lives seem to take a back seat to his personal political calculations.

In other words, Bill Montgomery's words may say "pro-life".

However, his acts (both of commission and omission) tell a veerrrry different story.


Thane Eichenauer said...

Great point.

Prup (aka Jim Benton) said...

I agree with your main point -- which is why I generally use 'pregnancy forcers' for that side.
I also agree with your condemnation of Montgomery. He should be voted out, and I regret that I can not think of any way of prosecuting him. (But I can't. Prosecutorial discretion is far too important to limit it without solid evidence of a 'quid pro quo.' And there seems to be none in this case. Montgomery was 'treating his friends differently' yes, and that was morally and ethically wrong, and he 'should have' recused himself. But, afaik, legally that was his right. He might be guilty of a breach of legal ethics, might be called up before the bar association, but nothing more.)
But I think trying to link the two is a mistake, is like throwing a GianCarlo Stanton or a Mike Trout a 'batting practice fastball.' The pregnancy forcers have been faced with the same cry of hypocrisy long enough that even they -- not the smartest people in the surrounding area -- came up with an answer. In protesting abortion they are not 'protecting life' but their new -- and equally inaccurate -- self-description is that they are 'protecting innocent life.'
Because they have this 'defense' so fall into the great trap we Progressives have been falling into for years, the 'Internet Trap." We are getting so used to 'talking with our friends' that we say things that win us 'applause symbols' but which are incapable of changing the minds that we are supposed to be working on. We too often sound like 'Sports Talk Radio" which exists so that its participants can make friends and ego points, and almost no one who calls in really thinks his opinions are going to change anything in the real sports world. No, the Nationals are not going to trade Bryce Harper for a bunch of prospects, or even for Pollock and prospects, but saying so cleverly enough will get you noticed on Sports Talk radio. And in "Politics Talk Radio" -- of the Internet style -- is the same. All the fancy ways of 'cutely' renaming the other party as Rethuglicans, or RepubliKKKans may get you a lot of thumbs up, but it means you've given up on trying to actually communicate with the 5-10% of opponents who may still have open minds -- until they feel insulted.
On the other hand, I do hope that -- in a different context -- the Montgomery story gets out. Maricopa sounds like the sort of place that -- were there an afterlife and a purgatory -- you automatically get time off for merely living there.