Two Injustices Don't Make Justice

US Attorney General Eric Holder has been studiously seeking out Bush-era "injustices" at the Justice Department, and has finally found a politically motivated prosecution in which Justice Department lawyers engaged in wide-ranging prosecutorial misconduct including the hiding of exculpatory evidence, witness tampering, and even a sexual relationship between a prosecutor and a gov't witness.

The object of all of this skullduggery? Ted Freakin' Stevens! Now, Holder is moving to void the conviction to avoid further disclosures:
Justice Dept. Seeks To Void Stevens' Conviction

Stevens was the poster-boy for corrupt governance. He served neither his constituents, nor his party, well. He acted primarily to benefit his campaign donors and then bristled when called on it. And he was so maladroit that he couldn't even defend a benefit to his constituents- the infamous "Bridge To Nowhere." He was useless, and yet he was returned to the Senate decade after decade for no better reason than inertia and incumbency. If anyone needs a reason to establish term limits for US Senators, Stevens is Exhibit A.

Still, everyone - even Ted Stevens - deserves a fair trial, and he did not get one. This result, with Holder withdrawing any further prosecution in part to prevent further judicial inquiries into the Justice Department attorneys' misconduct is unsatisfactory.

Was Stevens really guilty of corruption, or was it indeed a political prosecution designed to remove a Republican vote from the Senate? Given the narrowness of Stevens' loss last November, it's clear he would have won re-election without a criminal conviction temporarily on his record.

Have the voters in Alaska been well served by this? No. Now they have a Senator who would not have his seat, but for the deus ex machinations of prosecutors 8,000 miles away. They have also lost Stevens' seniority, which is a valuable political tool for any state.

Has our political system been well-served by this? Not really. I mean, it's nice the Stevens is out of the Senate, but he was ejected in a manner that would be labeled a coup if it had happened to the President. It certainly doesn't make the supposed "ethics" rules that were being enforced with this action look good. If such rules are effective, why do proscutors need to engage in this level of misconduct to enforce them? (My experience with attorneys who are stickler for ethics violations: they are often less ethical than the average, but noisily use trumped up ethics complaints against their foes)

And, the Justice Department comes out of this looking lousy, too. Holder wants to forestall further inquiry. The opposite should be happening. We need to find out what these attorneys were up to. The Justice Department is an elite posting for any attorney. How is it that things went so wrong with this group? For now this has a "Catholic Church moving poedophile priests around" quality.

Sadly, no one cares about an injustice against a guy like Stevens, so I suspect this will be the last we'll hear of this until Stevens' obituaries are published.

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