Being Unpopular Or Disliked Aren't Reasons To Prosecute

Too often, we bring people to court, not simply because of their crimes or the evidence, but because of the individual's personality, etc. Remember that being a jerk is not always a criminal offense!

I never liked Roger Clemens. I always found him arrogant, standoffish and, don't forget he used to pitch for the Red Sox. However, what he may (or may not have done) in terms of using HGH (which by the way was neither illegal or a banned substance at the time), or whether he or a man who claimed to inject him (and even creepier, still, said he saved the needles in beer cans) doesn't really make much difference to me, or really shouldn't to anyone. And, if lying to Congress was such a horrendous offense, how about all the politicians much of the time, members of Cabinet, "spun" answers, bankers and financial people, etc? At very best, this appears to be a case of selective prosecution.

It is estimated that the government (yes, that means all of us taxpayers) spent a minimum of $3 million on this prosecution, and that Clemens spent at least an equal amount defending himself. Even a casual observer should have realized that this case was based on the testimony of a rather questionable key witness. After the first trial was dismissed (without prejudice) because of prosecution error, and what might that have cost, it was decided to retry this case. And, this time, all 12 juror found Clemens "not guilty" on all charges.

I never liked or trusted John Edwards. There was just something that always seemed slimy and less than trustworthy to me about him, but I guess that can be said about many people in politics. Obviously, his behavior was contemptable. However, was there a prosecutable crime? The jury found him "not guilty" on one charge and could not arrive at a verdict on the others. Did this case justify the expense and resources?

When they wanted a scapegoat for some of the financial innapropriate behavior, who was singled out? Martha Stewart, and not for her financial misconduct, but rather for her words. Although Stewart is another unlikeable individual, I doubt that too many people believe she is the biggest threat to our financial system. And, now that's she's out, she's back in business, so wasn't this an expensive lesson and discipline to someone that wasn't well liked.

How about all the cases where the key witness is someone who's been given a deal for his testimony? Obviously, when it comes to prosecutions, there is often not an even playing field.

Even the second O.J. case was prosecuted not because of that crime, but rather because of public sentiment that he needed to be punished for his alleged previous offense (of which he was not convicted). Most legal experts state that the punishment/ sentence for that crime was disproportionate with that specific offense? It appeared that this trial was the legal equivalent of when a referee calls a questionable "touch foul" to make up for a poor earlier decision/ call!

No wonder there is such a backlog in our courts. Shouldn't trials be reserved for crimes where there is substantial proof, or serious threats to society? When we speak of government waste, don't forget the court system. Remember that being a jerk is not always a criminal offense! These are just a sampling of questionable decisions and actions taken. Let's speak out so that we have a true justice system that makes decisions based on evidence and facts, and not personalities, etc.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Concerned American June 27, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Quite simply, if Clemens told Congress what we all know, that he did HGH (which BTW is a prescription drug that he did not have a valid prescription for, which is a crime), he would not have perjured himself (which said another way, he lied, to protect his fake credentials as a long lived power pitcher). Also, quite simply, if Martha Stewart had simply told the truth, she probably would not have been in any trouble, since it would have been difficult in her case to charge her with insider trading-but since she is so smart (?) she contrived a story, had others involved in selling it, and perpetuated a lie-so she went to jail. I feel sorry for neither person, they think they are above it all, perpetuated by the people around them who are enablers for them. Poor Roger Clemens, he may not make the hall of fame-who cares? Roger and Martha can live with the likes of Edwards, OJ, etc. Less about them, lets hear about someone doing something positive for a change!
John Cocchiola August 02, 2012 at 04:00 PM
Personally, I don't really care about steroids in sports. Every era has/had its advantages and I'm one of those nuts that thinks we should all be allowed to control what we do to ourselves, as long as we aren't hurting anyone else. Aside from the Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno types (a pedophile and an enabler) types, I think the worst anyone could do in sports is gamble (like Pete Rose did), the odds will catch up and gamblers will eventually lose money, and usually to the wrong people. When an athlete or a coach is caught gambling, there will always be a question, or an accusation ("he threw the game") which takes away from the sport's legitimacy. Legitimacy is the life's blood of a sport, and when it loses credibility, people lose interest (who's the heavyweight champ these days?). Inside gambling will do more to destroy a sport than anything else. As for Roger Clemens lying to Congress, I couldn't care less. Washington lives by lies.
Chris Wendt August 02, 2012 at 06:03 PM
I think the Roger Clemens prosecution was a collossal waste of time and money by our government. But, they took their shot and came up short with the jury. Many people, myself included, gave a fist pump and said "Yeah!" when that news came down. Martha Stewart, likewise...the prosecutors took their shot and hit the jackpot in that case. My opinion, a gross miscarriage of justice. For any of us, meaning me, to harbor such negative sentiments toward our federal government is not a healthy or desirable situation. It makes walking down the middle of the road...almost impossible sometimes. The other dismaying aspects of all of this, and I think the blog post is a really good one, is (1) the proclivity of so many people to want to sit in judgement of others, and, (2) the setting of rigid and unrealistics expectations for our "heroes" to live up to, as though they, unlike ourselves, are somehow more then human.
Johan Lund August 02, 2012 at 06:17 PM
Way to be a mouthpiece for corporations' smear campaign against civil justice (the only place an individual has a shot at standing up against a mega-rich company). Check out the pictures of the McDonalds coffee woman's injuries then tell me who was wrong in that case: McDonalds for unsafe work practices or the woman for seeking funds for her trauma.
t1956d August 02, 2012 at 06:50 PM
The jury awarded the plaintiff $200,000 which was reduced to $160,000 since they found comparative negligence of 20 % on the plaintiff. The jury awarded 2.7 million in punative damages. That was actually reduced by the trial judge to $480,000 or three times the jury award. It should be noted that a plaintiff's injuries are not addressed until liability is established. In fact most trials are bifurcated, meaning a jury decides liability before hearing any evidence as to injuries and damages. In the McDonalds case discovery proceedings revealed that McDonalds coffee was served about 30 degrees higher than other merchants and that theyhad notice through numerous prior complaints regarding the coffee's temperature. Also, prior to trial the plaintiff had made a settlement demand of $20,000. McDonald's rejected the demand, went to trial and got burned.


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