“As our culture moves both in form and substance from a “rule of law” society to an “ends justifies the means” approach, we will see our country begin to resemble Russia and China in the courtroom. Those people that the state wants to hammer will be indicted for political reasons.”, Russell Dodds, WSJ, April 4, 2014
“There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime. That is not an exaggeration.”, John Baker, retired law professor, Louisiana State University
Sounds More Like the Old Soviet Union Than the U.S.
As our culture moves both in form and substance from a “rule of law” society to an “ends justifies the means” approach, we will begin to resemble Russia and China.April 4, 2014 4:16 p.m. ET
Regarding Collin Levy’s “The Weekend Interview with Kelly Rindfleisch: Caught in the Political Grinder” (March 29): I thought that Al Gore informed the world when he was caught using the White House for campaign purposes that there was “no controlling legal authority” for this sort of thing. Was he lying or was he a beneficiary of what we could call the “political 1%”?
Your July 23, 2011 “Federal Offenses: As Criminal Laws Proliferate, More Ensnared” includes the quote from John Baker, a retired Louisiana State University law professor: “There is no one in the United States over the age of 18 who cannot be indicted for some federal crime. That is not an exaggeration.”
As our culture moves both in form and substance from a “rule of law” society to an “ends justifies the means” approach, we will see our country begin to resemble Russia and China in the courtroom. Those people that the state wants to hammer will be indicted for political reasons. They will be accused of tax violations like the Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, business fraud like the Russian Mikhail Khodorkovsky, or other miscellaneous illegal actions. The fact that the accusers could also be indicted for who knows how many federal law violations, but never will be, will breed incredible cynicism and lack of faith in federal law enforcement.
The Wisconsin Democrats and unions were in fear of losing their control and ability to sup at the public trough. The Assistant District Attorney Bruce Landgraf got it right when he said, “Deterrence is a key component of her sentence.” Of course it is, but not the way he intended to mean. His actions were and are intended to intimidate the political opposition to the Democratic-union party.
When I read the interview, my first thought was: This is Putin’s Russia. As in Moscow, a politically powerful group will find and use any means to destroy a person who doesn’t give it the information it wants, regardless how flimsy, to pursue the more powerful. And we call ourselves a country of laws. The piece shows all the ugliness of politics in a modern democracy. If the politicians get away with it, what a shame.
This is a very interesting interview on how political vengeance works in real time. I can understand that when the government goes after someone in the private sector, the private sector must fund the employee’s defense. But why when one part of the government goes after another branch’s employee must that employee fund her own defense against the unlimited finances of the government? Hardly a fair fight.
J. Robert Hopson
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