The laziness and intellectual dishonesty of the Mobile Press-Register is on bold display today.
In an editorial titled "Siegelman's Jailing Backed by Legal Logic," the Register intones that U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller "had good reasons for not letting former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman out of prison on bond pending appeal of his June 2006 conviction on corruption-related charges."
A more fitting headline would have been: "Siegelman's Jailing Lacks Legal Logic."
Actually, it's not a matter of logic. The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals did not ask Fuller for any logic to explain his decision to keep Siegelman in prison pending appeal. The 11th Circuit asked Fuller to provide some facts and law that support his decision. At this task, Fuller failed utterly.
But when it comes to receiving the Register's big, fat kiss on his nice judicial fanny, Fuller succeeds spectacularly.
In fact, the Register's editorial writer was so busy puckering up that he or she could not bother to do the slightest homework.
Consider this paragraph:
"In his detailed statement, the judge pointed out that the prosecution didn't have to prove a quid pro quo between Mr. Siegelman and Mr. Scrushy, as both men contend. Judge Fuller said the statute under which the men were convicted does not require prosecutors to prove there was a joint understanding that the money was changing hands in return for a specific benefit."
The writer obviously has no clue about federal law. Federal statutes are notoriously broad, and one almost always must dig into the case law to understand what courts have found to be the specifics of a particular crime. And one does not have to dig far into 11th Circuit case law, to see that the Register's statement above is wrong.
We have shown that long-established 11 th Circuit precedent has held that a quid pro quo is required for a conviction on bribery. The most recent example is a 2007 case called U.S. v. McCarter. Try looking it up, Register folks. It's not that hard.
And then get a load of this final paragraph:
"In the meantime, the public can rest assured that Judge Fuller made a logical decision when he sent Mr. Siegelman and Mr. Scrushy directly to prison."
What the public actually can rest assured of is that the Register is trying to provide cover for a corrupt judge and a sham prosecution.
How many Alabamians will see through the Register's morally bankrupt act?