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June 19, 2012

"Who's Guarding the Henhouse? How the American Prosecutor Came to Devour Those He is Sworn to Protect"

The title of this post is the title of this provocative new paper appearing on SSRN authored by Jonathan Rapping. Here is the abstract:

Every day, all across America, prosecutors charge people with crimes that the criminal justice system is not sufficiently funded to handle.  Most of the accused are indigent citizens forced to rely on the services of over-burdened public defenders.  In a system that lacks the resources to resolve these cases at trial, or even to spend the requisite capital at the pre-trial stage, prosecutors have found creative ways to process the vast majority of these cases without the expense associated with providing the accused actual justice.

With an ever-expanding list of behaviors and actions deemed criminal, and increasingly harsh sentencing options for these offenses, prosecutors are able to put pressure on most criminal defendants to give up many of their most fundamental Constitutional rights and plead guilty to avoid potentially draconian outcomes.  While many prosecutors see this as a cheap and effective way to justly punish wrongdoers, this course of action has largely replaced our reliance on principles of justice such as the right to counsel, the right to trial by jury, and the role of an independent judiciary determining a punishment that fits the crime.  By undermining basic principles of justice so crucial to our legal system, one might ask whether this way of handling criminal cases is antithetical to the prosecutor’s critical role as minister of justice.

This article argues that when a prosecutor charges more cases than he knows the system can justly resolve due to resource limitations, he violates his ethical obligation to seek justice.  It further argues that many prosecutors fail to appreciate how they violate their duty to justice because of a culture that promotes this behavior.  Finally, it suggests that prosecutors must be trained to resist these systemic pressures, and to act in accordance with values consistent with justice, if they are to fulfill their intended role in the criminal justice system.

June 19, 2012 at 06:23 PM | Permalink

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What appears to be the central thesis of the article -- that "when a prosecutor charges more cases than he knows the system can justly resolve due to resource limitations, he violates his ethical obligation to seek justice" -- is so preposterous at so many levels that I thought the author must have some kind of agenda beyond his academic job as a professor of law at John Marshall Law School in Atlanta. So I looked up his bio as stated on the School's website. Here it is in full:

"Immediately prior to joining the John Marshall Law School in 2007, Professor Rapping served as Training Chief for the Orleans Public Defender, working to rebuild New Orleans’ public defender office in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. In the ten years prior to his work in New Orleans, he served in the Public Defenders offices of Georgia and Washington, D.C., developing and implementing public defender training programs, and handling a caseload of serious felonies. He has also taught at numerous clinical training programs for criminal defense associations, public defenders offices, and law schools throughout the country, including Harvard Law School, Yale Law School, the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the National Legal Aid and Defender Association, and the National Defender Training Project. In 2007 Professor Rapping was awarded a Soros Justice Fellowship to develop the Southern Public Defender Training Center, devoted to training new public defenders across the Southeastern United States, a project he currently directs." ###

Great. Rapping is a lifelong, committed, ideological (I loved the Soros Fellowship) defense lawyer who, from academia, proposes to redefine, to his side's benefit, the "ethical obligations" of his opponents.

Wonderful.

I'll just let that speak for itself, with the exception of one observation: Nothing in the abstract so much as mentions guilt or innocence, which most people would think is, ya know, kinda central to the administration of justice.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 19, 2012 7:45:00 PM

Mr. Otis,

Guilt or innocence may not have been brought up because, central to the thesis, is the fact that many crimes are legal only and not natural crimes. Prosecutors enjoy discretion over which crimes they may prosecute, plead away or just ignore.

Posted by: Jardinero1 | Jun 19, 2012 11:01:57 PM

Jardinero1 --

I don't think you would like living in a world where the prosecutor's choices were guided by anything OTHER than what is "legal."

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 19, 2012 11:13:28 PM

Bill cannot confront the argument so he attacks the messenger. Typical. What philistinism, to simply pretend anybody not on your "side" is per se not credible. I understand the tactic, though, since the assessment in the abstract is undeniably true, especially at the state court level. Better to divert attention from the argument and shift it to George Soros, etc.. You wouldn't want to risk a probative discussion in SL&P comments, after all, and SC hasn't shown up yet to advocate Soviet-style show trials and executions for ... well ... just about everybody (defendants, lawyers, judges, etc.)

Back in the real world, the feds actually use MUCH more discretion and reject lots of cases they theoretically could prosecute, letting the locals handle them or (in the case of much white-collar crime) just leaving them un-prosecuted. Look at the discretion exercised in immigration cases - those caught up in Secure Communities are prioritized over the DREAMer kids, and that's not just appropriate but because of scarce resources, mandatory. It would be irrational to suggest that prioritization not occur. The question raised here is whether locals have an obligation to exercise similar discretion and prioritize public resources. Every other area of government is restrained by budgets and the same is, or should be, true of the justice system. Where are the fiscal conservative budget hawks when you need them?

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jun 20, 2012 8:21:08 AM

I half-agree with Bill Otis.

It really is silly for the article to blame prosecutors for resource limitations that they neither created, nor have the power to address. The ills the author complains of are created (mostly) by Congress and the various state legislatures. Of course, there are unethical prosecutors, but it paints with too broad a brush to condemn the profession as a whole.

However, it is equally silly for Bill to blame a career defense lawyer from taking his own side. What’s wrong with that? Many people spend their whole careers arguing from a certain perspective. One might argue that Bill himself has done that.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Jun 20, 2012 9:24:41 AM

"With an ever-expanding list of behaviors and actions deemed criminal . . .". I have been a prosecutor for 16 years. In that time period I have prosecuted people for crimes that had been on the books for over 50 years. These are your staples of criminal law assaultive crimes, theft crimes, sex crimes, crimes of behavior that carry the risk of injury to others (including some drug crimes). In other words, I think his comment is true, but a red herring to his larger point.

The fact is that while the criminal code is expanding, it is due primarily to criminals never ending creativity to use technology to lie, cheat and steal and legislators need to feel like they have done something about it.

It is defendants and defense lawyers who demand plea bargains because most of the time they are guilty and they know the government can prove it. Their only "currency" left is their constitutional right to a jury trial. I do think we need to try more cases, not less, and I do think we have allowed the criminal law to invade too many of societies relationships (no, I am not talking about DV). However, the author's claims are essentially that his "principles of justice" are not being served. He does happen to leave out a few.

Posted by: David | Jun 20, 2012 9:49:06 AM

C'mon, Marc. It is precisely the brotherhood of prosecutors (past and present) that brought us to the point Rapping accurately describes.

Prosecutors and ex-prosecutors (judges and legislators) lord over every aspect of the justice system. They write the bulk of criminalizing laws and strong-arm lobby to pass them. They move in lockstep to undermine and kill reforms. They sit on appellate courts and enthusiastically view the work of lower courts in the light most favorable to the brethren.

Let a professor with experience in a public defenders offices say something honest, accurate and constructively critical of a justice system of, by and for prosecutors and what do we get? We get Bill Otis -- in characteristic prosecutor form -- attacking, demonizing, caricaturing with sneers, innuendo and dripping sarcasm this meddlesome outsider...this pointy-headed academic whose resume reveals him as one who stands with Americans accused of crimes (as opposed to government bureaucrats intent on imprisoning or killing them) and therefore is not to be taken seriously.

It's what prosecutors do. They seek to destroy, fairly or unfairly, anyone the cops or sentencing-policy blogs put before them as adversaries. And it's just one of many reasons why Rapping's observations deserve a wider audience.

Who's guarding the henhouse? Bill Otis, the archetypal American prosecutor.

Posted by: John K | Jun 20, 2012 9:57:21 AM

Grits --

"Bill cannot confront the argument so he attacks the messenger."

Since when is it an "attack" on the messenger to give the messenger's bio on his own law school's website? To just look at the abstract, no one would know that his academic job is just a veneer for a defense bar dead-ender. It's an old an wise caution to "consider the source." But of course you have to have some info about who the source is in order to make that consideration possible. I supplied the info, and will do so again when necessary. If you want to censor that, feel free to try.

Marc --

"...it is equally silly for Bill to blame a career defense lawyer from taking his own side."

The problem, as noted above, is that "his own side" is nowhere identified in the abstract.

"What’s wrong with that?"

Absolutely nothing, as long as we know that what a reader could easily think is just an academic author is actually an ideological defense lawyer in the guise of an academic.

"Many people spend their whole careers arguing from a certain perspective. One might argue that Bill himself has done that."

Just so, which is why I make my identity easy to find and mention it often here.

"It really is silly for the article to blame prosecutors for resource limitations that they neither created, nor have the power to address."

Bingo. It is also silly, indeed bizarre, for the article to state that a prosecutor should limit his cases by an assessment of what he "knows" the system "can justly resolve due to resource limitations." No prosecutor -- indeed no judge or lawyer of any kind -- could possibly know or come close to knowing how many cases "the system" can "justly resolve due to resource limitations," and still less could he know prosecuting Case X will be the one that pushes "the system" over Sapping's proposed brink, or whether it's only Case Y that would do so. Indeed the brink itself is both a moving target (resource allocations going up and down over time), and so subjective (who decides the meaning of "justly resolved"?) as to be impossible to apply.

The whole thing is just defense bar gibberish intended to smear its opponents as "unethical." This on the very day the Ethics Scolds on the defense side are going to call Jerry Sandusky to the stand to tell what they cannot help knowing is a pack of lies.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 10:26:50 AM

John K --

So you think it would have been better if Rapping's true background had remained undisclosed, it being nowhere mentioned in the post Doug put up?

Do you think it's wise to consider the source? Do you think the source's background might assist in that consideration?

"It's what prosecutors do. They seek to destroy, fairly or unfairly, anyone the cops or sentencing-policy blogs put before them as adversaries."

So you're rooting for the Sandusky defense team??!! Yes? No? Or are you with the prosecutors on that one? Do tell.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 10:54:37 AM

Calm down, Bill. Most of us are lawyers, not the mealy-headed, rage-driven types you'd fight to get on your jury, and as such are not moved by your pathetic and frankly, hysterical comparison of a commenter who made a legitimate point to Sandusky. Out of bounds. Please, let the rest of us have an adult conversation about this issue.

Posted by: Bill Otis Fan Club | Jun 20, 2012 11:17:19 AM

Fan Club --

I can well understand why you want to censor mention of Sandusky from this site (and he hasn't been mentioned before, to my knowledge, even though his is at the moment by far the most prominent criminal case in the country).

Sorry, but I'm not going along with the censorship move, nor do you tell me what's "out of bounds."

John K launched an absurd broadside against prosecutors (with which you register no disagreement), and, given its apparently limitless breadth, I'm going to ask whether he includes in that condemnation the Sandusky prosecutors, and would prefer instead to cheer on the constitutional champions on his defense team.

If you don't like it, well, as someone was saying, calm down.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 11:51:15 AM

“All power tends to corrupt; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” -- Lord Acton

Prosecutors are corrupted by the power vested in them. They become absolutely corrupt if they are given unfettered power.

Bill Otis doesn't understand this. So, in the context of a discussion about "who's watching the watchers," Bill wants to talk about whether some apparently perverted old asst. coach at Penn State is guilty or innocent.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 20, 2012 1:38:49 PM

@Bill Otis:

I respect your opinions, although I rarely agree with them. I write merely to say that I am therefore somewhat disappointed that you consider Rapping's resume "veneer for a defense bar dead-ender," and evidently believe that his consistent dedication to a particular side of what is an adversarial system by design impugns his credentials or the trustworthiness or quality of his work. I would have expected better, or at least something more detached, from you.

Also (and I hope this won't become a reason to deride me), I interned for Jon Rapping many years ago, when he was at PDS (I haven't had much contact in the last decade or so). He was, and I assume still is, an enormously talented lawyer, highly ethical, and a delightful person on top of it. He was so regarded by the defense bar, the judiciary in DC, and the local AUSAs, not just me.

You might want to check out "Gideon's Army" before opining on the man.

Posted by: Fed Defender | Jun 20, 2012 1:41:39 PM

Fed Defender --

You say that I believe that Rapping's "consistent dedication to a particular side of what is an adversarial system by design impugns his credentials or the trustworthiness or quality of his work."

What I actually said was that one should consider the source, which was an uncontroversial proposition up until this morning. Rapping's very dedication to the defense side that you note is completely invisible in the post Doug put up.

Rapping is no mere academic, and he does not have the (relative) neutrality one might expect a priori from academia. He is, to the contrary, and as you point out, a person with a "consistent dedication to a particular side." Meanwhile, he purports to invent an entirely novel source of ethics requirements that would apply ONLY TO HIS OPPONENTS. And as I noted, the new ethics would have nothing, so far as the abstract reveals, to do with the central issue prosecutors should be assessing, to wit, guilt or innocence. That question is left on the side of the road.

I also took on the merits as stated. Specifically, I said that it's bizarre for the article to contend that a prosecutor should limit his cases by an assessment of what he "knows" the system "can justly resolve due to resource limitations." No prosecutor -- indeed no judge or lawyer of any kind -- could possibly know or come close to knowing how many cases "the system" can "justly resolve due to resource limitations," and still less could he know prosecuting Case X will be the one that pushes "the system" over Sapping's proposed brink, or whether it's only Case Y that would do so. Indeed the brink itself is both a moving target (resource allocations going up and down over time), and so subjective (who decides the meaning of "justly resolved"?) as to be impossible to discern, much lees apply.

Neither you nor any of my other critics on this thread has so much as attempted a merits-based rebuttal.

I appreciate, however, your revealing that you were a Rapping intern. If the article had been as candid about where its author was coming from as you were in disclosing that same information about yourself, we might not be having this conversation.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 2:13:22 PM

Bill, Please push the button to turn off the Pre-Booker Guideline Chip that was installed decades ago...
Its getting in the way of normal communications and logic...Its the orange button, behind your left ear, depress at once...Take 2 breathes of air, ah, not so bad after all is it Bill.

Posted by: Abe | Jun 20, 2012 2:19:34 PM

@Bill Otis:

As a child of academics, and an armchair academic/theoritician myself, I question your presupposition that one would "a priori" expect a position of neutrality from an academic. In fact, I'm skeptical that such a position actually exists, in theory or in practice, and I'm confident that the epistimological critiques that have been lodged against such a supposed "bird's eye" position in the academy generally, and particularly in the humanities and law schools over the last 30 or so years,are sufficient to call into serious question your basic premise.

That said, I think if you'd read Rapping's article carefully, in full, and with a sympathetic eye -- ignoring some of the more inflammatory(to a prosecutor) rhetoric -- you might find that it's queerly sympathetic to prosecutors, especially state prosecutors, who are forced to make terrible decisions in the face of ethical quandaries every day, if only by inertia or inaction. Although an indictment, it is an almost wistful one.

And it doesn't let the defense off the hook, admitting that there is a split in the indigent defense community between those who would attempt to ameliorate the harsher realities of a systematically unjust system, and those who take the position that the only principled response is to boycott it entirely.

Finally, I think you deride, diminish, and devalue the perceptiveness, intelligence, and sensitivity of (most) of those on your side of the aisle when you advance the notion that prosecutors, state or federal, are incapable of gauging the "resource limitations" of the system within which they work.

I've been a state defender in libertarian New England and in a conservative, red-meat midwestern state, and a Federal Defender in the urban northeast, the semi-urban midwest, and the rural southeast. It's always struck me that, barring willful blindness or sheer contempt for the dignity of "the system" or for my clients personally, prosecutors are pretty damned astute about the quality of the lawyers they face, and the resources available to those lawyers. You can do better than to plead ignorance.

(Sincere) regards,
Fed Defender

Posted by: Fed Defender | Jun 20, 2012 2:47:47 PM

Tell ya what, Abe, I'll press the orange Guidelines button behind my left ear after you press the "Sandusky's-lawyers-are-heroes-of-the-Constitution" button behind your right ear. I mean, they are heroes -- aren't they?

P.S. If you actually want something resembling serious communication, which seems extremely doubtful, you can try discussing my substantive rebuttal to the SSRN post. If you do, you'll be the first one. Everyone else is just into one variation or another of the ad hominems directed to me.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 2:54:27 PM

I think I just presented a "substantive" rebuttal to you, Mr. Otis. And "abe," although snarky, is perfectly delightful.

Posted by: Fed Defender | Jun 20, 2012 3:05:12 PM

Fed Defender --

"It's always struck me that, barring willful blindness or sheer contempt for the dignity of "the system" or for my clients personally, prosecutors are pretty damned astute about the quality of the lawyers they face, and the resources available to those lawyers. You can do better than to plead ignorance."

I'm hardly pleading ignorance, and your side, through Rapping or otherwise, does not announce novel (and deliberately in terrorem) "ethics" rules to kneecap the opposition, much though you'd like to.

Are you seriously suggesting that (1) a prosecutor should walk away from a meritorious case against a dangerous criminal -- thus betraying his public trust -- because the criminal's lawyer is (according to whom?) underfunded, and (2) as Rapping suggests, that it should be UNETHICAL conduct for the prosecutor to decline to walk away?

The idea that convictable criminals should go on their merry way to continue their depredations on society because their lawyers plead poverty is just astounding. No sane system would put considerations of how the lawyers fare ahead of a just outcome for the parties. Still less would it put the lawyers' funding ahead of the interests of society in maintaining the right of the citizenry to live in peace and safety.

But even if it would do that, it takes an especially vindictive turn of mind to say that any such goals should be accomplished, not by system-wide changes, but instead by launching ad hoc ETHICS charges case-by-case against individual prosecutors.

If funding is a problem, the private bar can step up to its obligations instead of demanding that prosecutors face professional discipline for, of all things, insisting on performing the quite important task for which the public hired them.


Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 3:56:02 PM

Bill, your a good guy. If you tame down a bit, you will blend better...No time now, to debate with you. You took the ribbing very well, so you have some good stuffings still left in you..Have a nice day and maybe I can shake loose tonight...

Posted by: Abe | Jun 20, 2012 3:56:04 PM

Bill,

The answer to your questions is, "yes."

But, more importantly, I'm with Abe -- grab yourself a drink, man, before that vein in your forehead explodes.

Posted by: Fed Defender | Jun 20, 2012 4:05:12 PM

If Sandusky did the things he's accused of doing he needs to be separated from society so he can't hurt anyone else.

However, until that's been determined he deserves a vigorous defense by capable lawyers representing Sandusky's best interests.

Isn't that how our system is supposed to work? What's your alternative, Bll, summary execution based on media accounts of his misdeeds?

Posted by: John K | Jun 20, 2012 4:41:33 PM

John K --

"If Sandusky did the things he's accused of doing he needs to be separated from society so he can't hurt anyone else. However, until that's been determined he deserves a vigorous defense by capable lawyers representing Sandusky's best interests."

Don't worry, I have a strong feeling you won't have to wait long.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 6:12:15 PM

John K --

P.S. I thank you, however, for being willing to at least talk about Sandusky. It's just amazing that on a criminal law and sentencing blog, where time and again (and currently) there have been posts about what sentence might be imposed for a given crime in the news, there has not been one single entry about Sandusky, which is by far the criminal case most before the nation's attention.

I suspect people want to steer clear of it, not because it's so awful, but because it is, in its own disgusting way, so typical: A guilty defendant, a lawyer who puts on a joke of a defense (not that any other kind was available), phony denials of guilt that no one actually believes, the pre-trial bravado about how we need to avoid the "rush to judgment" and allow the defendant to "tell his side of the story in the proper setting," followed by the defendant's refusal to do any such thing, knowing that it's a lot easier to lie to the press (where you can cut off questioning) than to the jury (where you can't cut off cross examination). It would be a joke if Sandusky hadn't hurt so many children so badly -- not that I would expect a large segment of the commenting population to care.

I would rather be paid ten cents to prosecute this case than a million bucks trying to put Mr. "Would-you-mind-lending-me-your-son-tonight" back at home to do it again. But I just don't care for money as much as some lawyers do.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 6:55:05 PM

Bill Otis likes to studiously avoid discussing the need to have someone guarding the henhouse in which he used to cluck.

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 20, 2012 7:52:59 PM

CCDC --

"Bill Otis likes to studiously avoid discussing the need to have someone guarding the henhouse in which he used to cluck."

At least we can be thankful Mr. Sandusky wasn't casting a lustful eye at chickens -- if he wasn't.

Would you have defended him? There's not enough money in this world to have employed me to toil in his behalf. It really feels good to practice law outside the sewer in which he led his "moral" life.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 8:58:10 PM

Fed Defender --

Thanks for your concern about my head. I'm happy to report that its health is fine, and I expect it to remain fine until Obamacare fully kicks in, if it ever kicks in.

One other thing wrong with Rapping's proposal is that it's speculative, while at present we have a remedy that looks to established facts. If a defendant is convicted on account of IAC, and his counsel was ineffective because of deficient funding (or any other reason), he can file for habeas and make his case. Until either Congress or the courts find this remedy insufficient, there is to say the least no need for the additional, and gratuitously personal and vindictive "we'll-find-you-unethical" pogrom Rapping would launch at his opponents.

Why guess about whether funding might prove to be deficient when, under existing law, we have a remedy for those for whom it actually was deficient -- but a remedy that excludes, as it should, those who merely want to speculate and whine about what MIGHT happen if the taxpayers resist their every lavish demand.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 20, 2012 9:10:34 PM

"'his own side' is nowhere identified in the abstract."

That's why one might want to read the actual article,* Bill. Abstracts don't typically contain — and I can't recall ever seeing one contain — an author's bio.

Better trolling, please.

*In the 0-place footnote — where the author's biographical sketch is conventionally located — the paper reveals that

Professor Rapping serves as an Associate Professor and the Director of the Honors Program in Criminal Justice at Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School. He is also the founder and President of the Southern Public Defender Training Center. (My emphasis.)
I would say this gives some sense of "which side" Rapping is on.

Posted by: Michael Drake | Jun 20, 2012 9:38:41 PM

Facts don't matter to Bill Otis.

If it's the spawn of Republicans or prosecutors, he likes it.

Posted by: Vince Wright | Jun 20, 2012 10:52:53 PM

Michael Drake --

A single fine print sentence shoehorned into a footnote hardly does justice to Rapping's lifelong antagonism to convicting the guilty. His law school bio, which I gave and you ignore, does a much better job.

You also walk past the fact that there is already in place a remedy for IAC based on deficient resources (or any other reason), and one which (1) looks to established facts rather than defense counsel's self-serving future estimates of how money starved he's going to be, and (2) does not rely on the absurdly vindictive notion that an individual prosecutor should face ethics charges for proceeding with a factually meritorious case in which he has done nothing wrong.

You can go back to rooting for Sandusky's acquittal now, if that would be your preferred result. Is it?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 21, 2012 6:11:55 AM

"...Rapping's lifelong antagonism to convicting the guilty."

Incidiary narrative. Artful demonization.

"I don't think you would like living in a world where the prosecutor's choices were guided by anything OTHER than what is "legal."

Appeal to fear, emotion.

"You can go back to rooting for Sandusky's acquittal now..."

Twisting facts to discredit. Ascribing foul motives. Logical fallacy (criticizing A is tantamount to rooting for B)

Bill Otis -- master of the prosecutor's craft.

Posted by: John K | Jun 21, 2012 8:30:41 AM

John K --

Your post is dishonest, not to mention arrant nonsense.

1. I said that Rapping bears "lifelong antagonism to convicting the guilty." You respond that I'm being "incendiary." And just so -- if it's incendiary to tell the truth. His own intern admits, indeed proclaims, Rapping's complete one-sidedness. And the huge majority of his (and every PD's) clients are guilty, as you surely know.

2. I said (to Jardinero1): "I don't think you would like living in a world where the prosecutor's choices were guided by anything OTHER than what is "legal."

You say this is an "{a]ppeal to fear, emotion." It's the opposite -- an endorsement of living by what is legal rather than by whatever Jardinero1's alternative might be (he didn't say).

3. You say that I am "twisting facts to discredit" and "ascribing foul motives." You are able to make these claims ONLY by chopping off the last half of my sentence, which was not an ascription or a factual statement at all but a question. Specifically, you quote this part, "You can go back to rooting for Sandusky's acquittal now...," and intentionally omit the rest of what I said, which reads, "...if that would be your preferred result. Is it?"

That's just beautiful. Quoting half a sentence so that it appears to be a statement, rather than what it actually is, a question. That sleazy technique has the same amount of honesty in it as Sandusky's defense.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 21, 2012 9:05:06 AM

Believe me, Bill, I understand. It's no fun being miscast as a dastardly villain.

I know this because a number of mostly low-level, white-collar crime defendants I've interviewed for a writing project felt precisely the same way after viewing charging documents in their cases.

Posted by: John K | Jun 21, 2012 10:40:47 AM

John K --

You knew your accusations against me were dishonest when you wrote them and did it anyway??!!

Ummmm, John, that's not too good.

There are people posting here to whom that's second nature, but you're not one of them, and I hope you won't be headed in that direction.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 21, 2012 1:31:33 PM

Michael Drake --

Perhaps you missed my question. Are you rooting for an acquittal in the Sandusky prosecution?

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 21, 2012 1:37:03 PM

"You knew your accusations against me were dishonest when you wrote them and did it anyway??!!"

No. I stand by my characterizations of the prosecutor schtick I noted in your post. But I will cop to a poorly constructed sentence. I meant to say it's no fun believing you've been miscast as a villain.

Posted by: John K | Jun 21, 2012 3:07:12 PM

John K:

Bill Otis is proving himself to be a genuine dimwit.

His thinking and reasoning is comparable to that of his hero, Michele Leonhart (head of the DEA), as reflected in the video and reporting at this link: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/21/michele-leonhart-dea-crack-heroin-marijuana_n_1615270.html

Posted by: Calif. Capital Defense Counsel | Jun 21, 2012 9:50:14 PM

CCDC --

"Bill Otis is proving himself to be a genuine dimwit. His thinking and reasoning is comparable to that of his hero, Michele Leonhart (head of the DEA)..."

I can't say that Michele is my hero (or heroine), but she is indeed a friend. I very much admire her career, working her way up from the ranks. She was appointed Deputy Administrator by President Bush, and elevated to Administrator by President Obama. I have seldom met a more dedicated or harder working person.

As to dimwit status: Michele's view, and mine, have prevailed in Congress for 40 years, while you sit on the sidelines sputtering about legalizing not just dope, but meth, heroine and LSD, and, thankfully, getting nowhere. Well, I guess I can't say you get nowhere. You do succeed in typing anonymously at your computer, making personal remarks. Goodie for you. If I had never won a case, maybe I'd be tempted to spend my time like that too.

Well, not really.

Have a nice day.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jun 22, 2012 7:20:46 AM

Yeow. She's a piece of work.

Wonder if any of the legislators asked if her crack-down on prescription drugs should be strict enough to intimidate doctors who otherwise would be treating more aggressively patients suffering with severe pain...which seems to be how things are working now.

Not that they would have received an answer if they had, mind you.

Posted by: John K | Jun 22, 2012 12:02:01 PM

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