Thursday, June 4, 2009

Cyril Wecht Lands Verbal Haymakers on Bush Prosecutor

Mary Beth Buchanan, a Bush-appointed federal prosecutor in Pittsburgh, is to Pennsylvania what Alice Martin and Leura Canary are to Alabama. All three women appear to be right-wing fanatics who base their cases largely on politics rather than facts and law.

While Martin and Canary went after former Alabama Governor Don Siegelman on flimsy charges, Buchanan's most celebrated target was renowned forensic pathologist Cyril Wecht, a frequent guest on television news shows.

After a new judge suppressed much of the evidence in the case, Buchanan was forced to dismiss the charges against Wecht. We took special delight in reading that Buchanan received a verbal beatdown after the Wecht case blew up in her face.

Buchanan started the verbal sparring by pointing out that Wecht's first trial resulted in a hung jury. "He wasn't acquitted of anything," she said. "It was a hung jury."

Wecht responded by calling Buchanan a "sore loser":

"Her record, her actions speak for themselves," he said. "She has no shame at all. Absolutely none. Evidently, whether it's biological, or genetic or an environmental, infectious contaminant of some kind, she is incapable of simply telling the truth, not to mention being a gracious loser."

Lord, could those words ever apply to a couple of prosecutors we know in Alabama?

Wecht couldn't resist taking a shot at the government's tactics:

Dr. Wecht criticized the government for filing an 84-count indictment and whittling it down to just 14 counts before dismissing the entire case.

"What does that say about professional decency and ethical responsibility?" he asked.

The Wecht case turned when an appellate panel forced trial judge Arthur J. Schwab to step down. The new judge, Sean J. McLaughlin, ruled that much of the government's evidence had been improperly obtained. End of case.

That caused us to wonder why a clearly biased trial judge, Mark Fuller, remains on the Siegelman case in Alabama.

A legal expert was quick to say that Buchanan's comments after the Wecht dismissal were classless and inappropriate:

University of Pittsburgh law professor David Harris said the government had no choice but to dismiss the case and that Ms. Buchanan's personal feelings are irrelevant.

"To state her belief in Dr. Wecht's guilt at the same time she dismisses the charges against him shows confusion on her part about her proper role," he said.

Harris said a mouthful there. Buchanan, Martin, and Canary are just three of many Bush-appointed U.S. attorneys who seem to have confusion about the proper role of a prosecutor.

Wecht couldn't resist taking a jab at the Obama administration, wondering why it has allowed "public servants" like Buchanan to remain in office:

"With Iraq, Israel, Hamas, Fatah, the economy and healthcare plan, smugglers from Mexico, swine flu and pirates in Somalia, I can't understand how President Obama has considered all of those to be a greater priority than replacing Mary Beth Buchanan," Dr. Wecht said with a smile.


Anonymous said...

Here's her bio. I'm always curious where these people went to school :|

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