Thursday, July 12, 2007

The lapdog press?

Let's ponder again the letter to the editor I wrote to The Birmingham News, outlining judicial corruption I have experienced in Alabama courts. The News, of course, chose not to run the letter.

Why would the paper not run this letter when it routinely runs letters about all kinds of weighty subjects--from Nick Saban's shoe size to Tommy Tuberville's golf game? (For any out-of-state readers, Saban is football coach at U of Alabama; Tuberville is football coach at Auburn University.) It might help to view the editorial to which I was responding.

The odd thing is that the News and I seem to agree on a lot of things about Alabama courts:

* The editorial's headline, "More dignity at a lower cost," implies that Alabama courts could use more dignity. I couldn't agree more.

* They state that partisanship, the influence of politics, is a problem in Alabama courts. I couldn't agree more. In fact, the whole point of this blog is that a particular kind of partisanship--that practiced by certain Republican judges in Alabama--is at the heart of the corruption I've witnessed.

* They state that even some lawyers and judges admit the system gives off the perception that it is not fair and impartial. "I would be nervous if I had a case and knew the other party had contributed to the judge when I had not," former Supreme Court justice Gorman Houston says. Gorman, dude, I know where you're coming from. In my case, I don't know if the opposing attorney contributed to the judge or not, but I know for sure the two used to be neighbors and spent lots of time together on the golf course. Good point by the News.

* The News states: "Alabamians need judges in whom they can have confidence whether they are filing suit or being sued, whether they are charged with a crime or the victim of one." Again, we're on the same page. I was both the victim of a crime and recipient of a lawsuit. Know where you're coming from, gang. Well stated.

* The News then follows with this wonderful kicker: "Under the current system, that's too often not the perception and sometimes not the reality." So there you have it. The Birmingham News admits that judicial corruption exists in Alabama! Could we be more on the same page or what?

You can see why I thought I was doing the News a favor by sending them tips about judicial corruption I had witnessed. I was even so helpful as to put thoughts down on paper and send them a letter. And for good measure, I stated that the problem was not limited to me and cited a respected Montgomery attorney named Ray Vaughan who has written about the unfair practices of our current courts.

So why is The Birmingham News not interested in my story? Well, their editorial gives one hint:

* The editorial states: "Judicial races today are corroding the public's trust in the courts." That's fine, but it does not go nearly far enough. The problem goes way beyond judicial races; it goes to judicial behavior.

It's the same kind of arrogant, sleazy behavior that has corrupted Alabama's two-year-colleges system. And the News has been all over that story, even winning a Pulitzer Prize for it.

So the paper has the ability, when it has the will, to uncover corruption. But it only seems to have the will when Democrats are the wrongdoers.

Does the newspaper truly seek to serve all Alabamians or only those with a certain political/religious point of view?

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