In George Orwell's 1984, the author coined the term "Big Brother is watching you." At least, I always heard that's where the term came from, but in the interest of full disclosure, I never read the book. And it's always been my understanding that Big Brother was the government. (NOTE: I'm basing the remainder of my article on my above-listed understanding of the book. If my understanding is wrong, I'm really going to look like a dumb ass, here.)
Well, Big Brother is watching now, and the effects are being felt even by non-lawyers. In Peggy O'Hare's article this afternoon, she wrote the following statement:
In court papers filed Monday, (Lloyd) Kelley gave a list of people he plans to call to the witness stand, including Rosenthal; prosecutor and Republican DA candidate Kelly Siegler; Siegler's husband, Dr. Sam Siegler; Rosenthal's executive assistant Kerry Stevens; his chief investigator John Ray Harrison; his political consultant Allen Blakemore; and prosecutor Mike Trent.
Now correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't this lawsuit start over an issue with the Sheriff's Office? Now, I've got absolutely nothing to do with this law suit, and God knows I'm glad for that. I don't pretend to have the inner-understanding that the parties involved do (LOOSELY TRANSLATED: "Please nobody subpoena me."), but I'm having a hard time seeing how all these folks are getting roped into a case involving the Sheriff's Office, when none of them seem to work for the HCSO. Chuck subpoenaed? Maybe. But the rest? And can somebody explain to me how in HELL Sam Siegler got involved in this mess?
I just don't get it. I don't understand what the criteria is before your private matters become public.
And that scares me.
I'm hearing horror stories about more and more open records requests hitting the D.A.'s Office every day. Of course, the natural inclination is to say "Well, if they didn't write anything bad, then they don't have anything to worry about."
I guess, but do you remember when the Rosenthal e-mails were first posted on KHOU.com? I, like thousands of other people, clicked on the link that showed the e-mails, and I felt sick.
The first thing on there was a personal exchange between HCDA General Counsel Scott Durfee and (I believe) his wife. Were they discussing racism? No. Were they talking law? No. They were talking about a problem their child was having with another child in school. As husbands and wives talk, they discuss their opinion of some of the other kids in the class. Nothing racist or elitist, but clearly in terms that Mr. Durfee and his wife wouldn't have shared "with the rest of the class".
That's bullshit. I don't really know Scott Durfee, except in passing, but Good Lord, can you imagine how humiliating that must have been? Where's the media discretion in releasing that to the masses? And how did it get out there anyway? I just don't get it. That wasn't fair.
And what exactly is it about that law that lets Kelley get Sam Siegler's e-mails? I mean, I can see the stuff acquired through Rosenthal's account being fair game, but subpoenaing Siegler's stuff? And calling him into court as well? Whatever you believe about Kelly's husband from media reports, does that really sit well with the general public that personal e-mails are that up for grabs?
I know that Kelly Siegler put herself in the public spotlight when she decided to run for D.A., so I'm not expecting to find a wave of sympathy for her in regards to that, but damn, that woman has gone under some intense scrutiny that doesn't seem to have been focused on any of the other candidates. I'm not a political person, myself, and after watching all of the scrutiny she's gone under, I will never even think of running for office.
I'm not saying I'd even make a good candidate in a theoretical election, but think about this: how many excellent candidates do get run off from the idea of even running because they don't want their whole life under such scrutiny?
Even the prettiest picture doesn't look good under a microscope.
My concerns about posting aren't because I think the message isn't worth discussing. It's because I don't want the hell that seems to now come along with speaking your mind.
And by the way, it is just my mind that I'm speaking. My thoughts and beliefs in no way speak for criminal lawyers, whether they be defense or prosecution, or anybody else for that matter.