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.

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Helen June 20, 2012 at 01:23 AM
But isn't suing the American way? A right, almost? Let's get serious....somewhere back in time when that person sued McDonald's and won for her (I believe it was a woman) coffee being too hot and it scalded her - well, that was Pandora's box, my friends..... The frivolous lawsuits are wasting our tax dollars, holding up legitimate court cases, etc. I knew of a man years ago who fell in a store due to negligence - and his lawyer said that he would probably never see the money, but not to worry - his grandchildren would. Really?
George Mulligan June 20, 2012 at 01:36 AM
Roger Clemans was one of the outstanding pitchers in the last thirty years. What the government put him through was a disgrace. We are talking baseball, not atomic science. He didn't sell classified information to our enemies. I want to see Roger Clemans in the Hall fo Fame along with Barry Bonds, A-Rod and some of the other outstanding athletes of my time. I also want to see the all time hit leader Pete Rose in the Hall of Fame. He has suffered long enough for betting on games after he quit playing. I don't expect these professional players to be altar boys. They gave us so much excitement during their careers, They don't deserve to be defendants in court, Nor should they be snubbed for their accomplishments on the field of play. I will be boycott Cooperstown until players are inducted for what they did on the field. If the hall of fame was an altar boy society, more than half the players in there would not have been eligible.
George Mulligan June 20, 2012 at 01:51 AM
The girls in my family love Martha Stewart and don't agree with your comment that she is "another unlikable individual.' Her's is another case of Govenrnment Out of Control. The most she should have received was a fine or a slap on the wrist. Her prison sentence was abvsurd. As for OJ and John Edwards I don't have as much sympathy. One is a murderer and the other a lawyer and politician who aspired to the highest office in the land. OJ behind bars doesn't bother me. As for Edwards, if I never hear about him again that would be fine.
GM June 20, 2012 at 01:56 AM
Hall of Fame should not require good conduct and citizenship? The wife beaters and drug abusers should be enshrined? Is that the point here? With that said, the MLB created the steroid era and for that, players should not be barred from enshrinement. However, Clemens was on trial for lying not for steroid use. Others came forward and stood up like men and admitted use. He dishonored his achievements by lying. That was his choice. Though he was found not guilty, his innocence will always be in doubt in the minds of millions. Had he been a man about it, he would have presented a lesson for kids to follow. Seems like a self-important d-bag at the end of all this. Who really cares if Clemens gets in the Hall, other than Roger Clemens.
George Mulligan June 20, 2012 at 02:12 AM
I care if Roger Clemans gets in the Hall of Fame. With Maddux, Glavine, Johnson and Smoltz he was one of the best pitchers in the last thirty years. Judge the players for what they do on the field. Look at the all time stats. That is the standard. Mickey Mantle drank too much, Ty Cobb was a vicious player. You think Rickie Henderson was a saint? But they are in the Hall of Fame. As far as I know Roger Clemans never beat his wife, and as Mr Brody pointed out, the use of HGH was legal if and when he used it. Did Roger Clemans lie to Congress? The jury said no. And lying to Congress, is that such a huge offense? They lie to us all the time. The great players belong in the Hall of Fame for their accomplishments on the field. They don't belong in Court on non issues.
Milt Galvis June 20, 2012 at 04:17 AM
The jails are filled with "misunderstood people" ?
Marc Rosen June 20, 2012 at 03:16 PM
Actually, the amount that woman sued for was MUCH lower than the amount she was awarded. She WAS injured as a result of the coffee being way too hot for humans to drink, as it resulted in 3rd degree burns. While the jury gave a reasonable award, the judge took into consideration the fact that there had been dozens of cases for this same issue involving McDonald's already. The JUDGE increased the punitive damages to PUNISH McDonald's for their negligent failure to comply with previous court directives.
Richard Brody June 20, 2012 at 03:19 PM
The point I am trying to make is that, whether you like someone or not, whether they are sympathetic or not, regardless of our personal opinion or public sentiment, prosecutions must be solely based on the rule of law, and nothing else. Baseball can decide what to do with Clemens, etc., and that's not the point here. When the courts decide to single someone out (anyone), and treat him differently for whatever reason, is that not a form of prosecutorial abuse of power? John Edwards is certainly a phony, a sleeze bag and a jerk, but that doesn't mean he broke the law. OJ may have been guilty (although that has never been proven), but there are no "make-up" jail sentences for other crimes in the law. And, aren't there more important issues and ways to spend time,money and focus, than in these less than essential (and questionable) prosecutions?
Argile June 20, 2012 at 03:34 PM
"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." Great point. This was a pointless waste of time and a financial waste as well. I find it interesting that if the government was so upset about steroids in baseball why not ban smoking? I've never seen anyone smoke a whole pack of cigarettes and hit the treadmill. However HGH use and exercise go hand in hand. I guess the government's worried that people might find the fountain of youth and live off of social security for a few centuries. I guess they'd rather you smoke your brains out and die and prevent insolvency of SS...LOL I know, it's sounds like a crazy conspiracy theory. Sorry. :)
Marc Rosen June 20, 2012 at 03:37 PM
To my knowledge, OJ's second "trial" was in civil court, not criminal court, and was the result of OJ being sued for wrongful death in the murders he was acquitted for. Double jeopardy doesn't protect you from being sued for something after you've been tried for it in criminal court, and it certainly didn't protect OJ from being found "liable".
Richard Brody June 20, 2012 at 03:43 PM
Marc- my comments re the OJ case did NOT refer to the civil case, BUT rather the response and charges that related to the robbery OJ was involved in, when he was prosecuted for attempting to retrieve his own belongings. Had he NOT had the notoriety from the previous case, most legal experts believe the robbery case and charge would have been dramatically reduced.
GM June 21, 2012 at 04:08 AM
Your argue almost to the opposite extreme. You appear to claim that Because he's Roger Clemens we should let him slide on breaking the law for lying and perjuring himself. He broke the law. He also challenged the system of law quite publicly. Then the law spends money to demonstrate you cannot lie becasue you are a famous person and we will prosecute to the full extent. He asked for it and he got it. Now, do you really believe he didn't juice?
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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