Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Politics versus Experience - A Hypothetical

On Channel 13 last night, political consultant Alan Blakemore pointed out that Pat Lykos attacking Kelly Siegler through Chuck Rosenthal's record was probably the wise political move for Lykos, because it distracts away from the fact that Kelly has vastly more qualifications and experience than the politically savvy Lykos.

It may be good for Lykos, but it's certainly bad for the voters and the citizens of the county that Lykos seeks to represent. Lykos keeps uttering the phrase "Rule of Law", "Rule of Law", "Rule of Law" all day long. Ask yourself this, would you vote for a Presidential candidate who just stated "I'm going to make America better", but then could provide no meaningful ideas of how to do so?

Why do the Assistant D.A.s currently working at the Office become queasy at the idea of Lykos becoming the D.A? Well, on top of the fact that she and her people keep referring to the hard-working ADAs as a "bunch of drunks", they also know the value of having a leader who knows what in the hell she is doing. I know that Mark Bennett has stated that the idea of an inexperienced leader like Lykos or Bradford appeals to the "anarchist" inside of him, but the members of the Defense Bar should be every bit as concerned as the Prosecutors (and I believe that they are).

Consider the following hypothetical situation:

A high-profile capital murder case occurs in Harris County, Texas. After several weeks of investigation the police make an arrest in the case.
Political Reaction-the elected D.A. automatically claims that she will try the case herself, knowing the voters will love it. She makes several bold predictions in her press conference, accepting her accolades.
Experienced Reaction-the elected D.A. sees if the case will land in a court with a capable and experienced prosecutor to handle it.

The same case starts to develop some problems with it, leading to it not looking like a sure-fire win anymore.
Political Reaction-the elected D.A. decides she won't be trying the case after all. She quietly stops making court appearances on the case, and dodges question about it, as if somebody were asking her about a yarmulke, or something.
Experienced Reaction-works with the prosecutors handling the case to determine the nature of the problems with the case, and if they are fixable, or if the problems point to actual innocence.

The problems with the case, do, in fact, turn out to point toward actual innocence. The prosecutors on the case come to the elected D.A. to tell her that they believe the wrong person is charged with the high-profile crime.
Political Reaction-realizing the bold predictions that she made at arrest are still ringing in the public's ears, she tells the prosecutors not to make a fool of her, and to proceed with the case. When the prosecutor expresses concerns, she tells them "perhaps you don't like your job as much as I thought you did".
Experienced Reaction-after carefully reviewing the case with the prosecutor, calls in the victim's family for a conference, where everything is explained to them. The case is then dismissed. She then stands beside her prosecutor when the media demands answers. She tells the investigating agency to keep working on finding the right person.

NOTE: The last portion of the hypothetical doesn't apply for an experienced reaction, because has already been dismissed in that scenario.

The case proceeds to trial, and the Defendant is (hopefully!) found not guilty.
Political Reaction (Best Case Scenario) - she fires the prosecutor for losing the case and embarrassing the Office. She never acknowledges that the wrong person was accused, and closes the door to the police ever tracking down the real person responsible.
Political Reaction (Worst Case Scenario) - an innocent person gets convicted.

Is this an alarmist hypothetical? Sure it is, but let's say that we aren't talking about a capital murder. Let's say we're talking about something of a lesser scale. A theft. An assault. A burglary of a habitation.

Do the same judgments not come into play?

5 comments:

Kevin Whited said...

** Ask yourself this, would you vote for a Presidential candidate who just stated "I'm going to make America better", but then could provide no meaningful ideas of how to do so? **

Isn't one party about to nominate that guy? ;)

A Harris County Lawyer said...

Exactly.

anonymous c said...

Hehe! I chuckled when I read that line. Knew what you meant. :-)

His "pastor" problems are not gonna go away.

Either way, we can win.

Jason said...

I'm not a politician. So maybe I'm just ignorant, but what's wrong with standing in front of the camera saying "look, the investigation is still ongoing to ensure the evidence does point to the right person. My office will not knowingly prosecute someone we feel isn't guilty of the crime!"

jigmeister said...

If Lykos gets elected, someone will just drag her into the county and I will personally contribute to Dickie's fee to represent AHCL. I know she didn't do it....
Just kidding..a little off color.