I don't usually...

I don't usually rag on fellow Slatesters, but this appalling bit of agit-prop requires that I make an exception. In it Phillip Carter argues the absurd position that it's cool if prosecutors essentially break the law, 'cause, hey--there's a whole system out there to moderate things. No really. Here's his justification for being pro Chertoff:

Carter writes:

"Chertoff pushed the envelope when it came to the use of these tools perhaps even beyond what the laws themselves would allow. But that is what it means to be an aggressive prosecutor."

--Are you kidding? Being an aggressive prosecutor is pushing the envelope past what the law allows? This is scary stuff, and there is oh so much more...

Carter continues: "Prosecutors have broad discretion to charge and prosecute crimes in good faith, even where an acquittal ultimately results. Indeed, many citizens expect prosecutors to aim high with their indictments; to seek a first-degree murder conviction in a tough case, for example, and let the jury decide whether the facts support such a charge or not."

--Um, no. That's appalling too. That's like saying a we should all cheat on our taxes, cause the IRS will sort it all out.

Finally, Carter draws a false and dangerous syllogism:

"Historically, the Justice Department has flexed its prosecutorial muscle by using technical violations of the law to snag some of America's worst enemies. Federal prosecutors famously convicted mobster Al Capone on charges of tax evasion when no prosecutor in the country was able to make a murder charge stick. Today, under the Project Safe Neighborhoods program, federal prosecutors use a coterie of criminal statutes to aggressively prosecute criminals who might otherwise be tried by state and local courts. The idea is to leverage federal criminal laws with substantially tougher sentences than their state law counterparts such as the federal statute prohibiting felons from having a firearm even though these "technical" violations may not actually represent the worst kinds of criminal offenses. (Picture a hard-core gang member with three recent murders to his credit being tried in federal court for merely having a gun in his waistband, because the federal charge is easier to prove and carries a 10-year minimum sentence, and you get the gist of this effort.)"

--Yes, the feds do this all the time, but somehow Carter doesn't seem to grasp the elemental difference between this and what he's discussed above: One is using the law and the other is intentionally breaking it. PSN is fine, and federalizing certain crimes may have its own drawbacks (note to Phil--Operation Triggerlock--the federalization of gun crimes-- is a joke in many states and many clients wind up doing LESS time in the feds than they would just on the gun under the state statute...) but using those laws and the proscribed penalties is a difference in kind not degree from sanctioning torture, or refusing to grant access to critical witnesses as if there was no right to confrontation.

Chertoff is worthy of disbarment not promotion. Sad that Carter can't see it.

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