Florida Pilot

A compendium of random thoughts from a former Washington Beltway insider who is now having a lot more fun flying small airplanes in Central Florida.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

prosecutorial abuse -- a case study

The criminal justice system offers extraordinary powers to prosecutors which, when abused, can result in really outrageous results. The recent personal "jihad" of Santa Barbara county prosecutor Thomas Sneddon against Michael Jackson was one example and now, Texas democratic Ronnie Earle is showing just how far he is willing to abuse the system in an attempt to get even with Tom Delay for his successful efforts to break the democratic stronghold on the Texas state legistlature and congressional delegation.

The grand jury process is particularly suited to an abusive prosecutor as no defense or even exculpatory evidence need be presented when the prosecutor chooses to seek and indictment. It is typically the case that a good prosecutor can manipulate a grand jury to bring almost any charge. For Ronnie Earle, however, even those overwhelming advantages were not sufficent and he had to use three separate grand juries to get the results he wanted.

"Travis County District Attorney Ronnie Earle acknowledged that prosecutors presented their case to three grand juries — not just the two they had discussed — and one grand jury refused to indict DeLay."

Earle, of course, has a history of failed political prosecutions. Even those who don't care for Tom Delay have to be appaled at the conduct of Earle.


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