Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It Isn't Really About Don Siegelman

Karl Rove's Congressional testimony is receiving prominent display in the news, so perhaps it's a good time to put the larger Department of Justice story in perspective.

Thanks to Rove's history in the state, and the prosecution of former Governor Don Siegelman, the alleged use of the DOJ for political purposes has deep roots in Alabama. But even here, the public does not seem to grasp the seriousness of the issues involved. Even respected Alabama journalists (yes, there are a few) don't seem to fully "get" the story.

Consider my recent back and forth with Tim Lennox, a fellow Alabama blogger and veteran broadcast journalist. I started things by taking Lennox to task for writing that Rove had denied involvement in the Siegelman case, when Rove in fact did no such thing. Lennox countered with a post that hinted that blinders prevent some folks from seeing the Rove/Siegelman story clearly. I think he meant to include me among the blinders-wearing crowd.

Lennox has been around Alabama journalism for many years. I was a regular listener to his radio show in Birmingham. And I watched his Alabama Public Television program pretty regularly. I think he's a fair and capable guy.

But here is where he and I differ. Lennox has referred a few times in recent posts to "Siegelman supporters." Those apparently are the folks he considers to be wearing blinders--and he seems to put me in that crowd.

Don Siegelman has been in Alabama politics a long time, and I'm sure he has many backers--people who know and like him personally, have campaigned for him, supported him financially, etc. I'm not in that crowd, and I know a number of people who aren't in that crowd--but still think the Bush Justice Department emitted numerous noxious odors and should be examined closely.

Certain Alabama press outlets have created this notion that there is a "cult of personality" surrounding Siegelman, that his dynamic persona causes supporters to overlook his criminal wrongdoing. Lennox seems to buy into this, to some extent.

But Siegelman himself has said, correctly, that the story is not just about him or his case. The Web-based journalists who have done the heavy lifting on this story--Scott Horton, Larisa Alexandrovna, Glynn Wilson, and yours truly--are not "Siegelman supporters." The key whistleblower in the case, Alabama attorney Jill Simpson, wasn't even a member of Siegelman's party.

All of these folks, I feel certain, know the story isn't about Siegelman--or Rove, for that matter. It's about the rule of law. It's about big ideas, summarized in the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, such as "equal protection" and "due process." Do those ideas still matter, will they still be enforced?

Tim Lennox is a sharp guy, and I think, in time, he will grasp that the "Siegelman case" really isn't about Siegelman at all. Lennox, I'm guessing, has spent the past several years living in Montgomery, and that's enough to corrode anybody's brain a little bit.

I'm certainly no smarter than Tim Lennox, but I've had a personal experience that helps me understand what the Siegelman case really is about. I know what it's like to walk into a courtroom and, after later studying the relevant law, realize the judge had cheated me repeatedly. In fact, I would love to sit down with Lennox sometime and show him exactly what happened in my case. Perhaps that would help him understand how a corrupt justice system threatens our democracy.

And that's really the issue here. If you study the facts and the law involved, you see that Don Siegelman and Richard Scrushy did not commit a crime. That goes also for the Paul Minor case in Mississippi. And yet, four men sit in prison from those two cases, and a fifth (Siegelman) might be heading back to prison.

Did Karl Rove play a role in those cases? That remains unclear. But this much is crystal clear: The judges and the prosecutors in both cases acted corruptly. And that, aside from any role Rove might have played, needs to be investigated.

In the Siegelman case, the alleged criminal activity clearly took place outside the five-year statute of limitations. The judge and prosecutors had to know that, but they barged ahead anyway. The alleged actions of Siegelman and Scrushy do not constitute a crime. But based simply on the statute of limitations, the case should have never gotten off the ground.

In the Minor case, the underlying rulings by two state judges were decided correctly under the law, so there could not possibly be a bribe or fraud. But the judge gave unlawful jury instructions--the same thing happened in the Siegelman case--resulting in convictions.

I've had two brief phone conversations with Don Siegelman. And I've never communicated with Paul Minor at all. I don't think that qualifies me as a "supporter" of either gentleman.

So why have I written several hundred posts about their two cases? I know what it's like to be cheated in court. And after studying the facts and relevant law in their cases, I know that Don Siegelman, Paul Minor, and their codefendants were cheated in court.

When people are cheated in court, that means our constitution has been trampled. Judges and prosecutors have a sworn duty to uphold and apply the law correctly--to ensure that "equal protection" and "due process" apply in reality, not just in theory.

That's why the actions of the Bush Justice Department must be investigated--and any wrongdoers must be punished.

That's what this story is really about. And it's way bigger than Don Siegelman--or Karl Rove.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Here is one analysis by a top civil rights attorney, he provides me for free when his time bills at $400 / hour, RE: BOGUS MOTION FILED IN FEDERAL COURT:

"... You must respond, if you want to be heard at all. You cannot assume that because you believe a motion to be improper that the judge, without your argument, will likewise believe it to be so. Just set your arguments out in non inflammatory words. There is no reason to bar you from directly communicating with a national bank on issues not in the case before this judge. If they feel you are a nuisance and that they are entitled to enjoin you from any such contact whatsoever, their proper remedy is to file a separate suit against you to enjoin litigious conduct, or to file a criminal charge against you for threats etc. Just because a plaintiff or a defendant is before the court on one case does not give that judge the power to enjoin any and all misdeeds. E.g., the judge could not enjoin you from smoking in front of the bank; the judge could not enjoin the bank from charging other customers excessive fees, etc. Separate lawsuits must be brought for that. What the bank is doing here is similar to the SLAP suits. They are asking the judge to close you down altogether so that you cannot complain to a federally regulated bank. Point out that XXXXX has no jurisdiction over such a claim because that is not part of the lawsuit pending before him. Notwithstanding the characterizations of you by counsel, they cite only one document as being bothersome. That is not enough to enjoin you from speaking. If that were true, then no lawyer would be able to file any partisan document in court, because lawyers constantly accuse opposing counsel of all sorts of chicanery. .... Download ORS 31.150 XXXXXXX ..."

I was so upset when the Judge basically used the PATRIOT ACT in court to tell me I must do as I am told, and also, he can do whatever he wants to me because I basically have NO RIGHT/S:

"... Accordingly, it is hereby ORDERED that plaintiff XXXXXX XXXX shall not communicate directly with the court about the merits of this case, or about any matter unrelated to the case, by email, typed or written correspondence, or in other fashion ..."

How about this for a BANKSTER CORPORATE FASCIST DICTATORSHIP, right here by and through our FEDERAL COURT SYSTEM!!!!