Thursday, May 18, 2006

On Scott Jensen

In the years I have resided in this locale, I've had two State Representatives: Ken Merkel and Scott Jensen. Both were good (by and large) at representing the interests of the district. Ken's now in retirement, but I see him regularly.

Scott's in retirement, too, of a different sort.

Briefly, Scott was screwed. Yes, there are plenty of "appeal" items in the trial, and it's entirely possible that the decision will be overturned. That won't do much good for Scott, who will be in State prison.

Frankly, the Western District US Attorney ought to be looking at prosecutorial misconduct charges against Brian Blanchard, who deliberately and consciously overlooked ADMISSIONS of wrongdoing by multiple Legislators and staffers while nailing Scott to a tree. That would be a good start.

The best analysis of the situation was provided by the Shark:

The Jensen verdict and sentence should, however should trouble civil libertarians for at least three reasons.

The first is that what Jensen did was not clearly defined as a crime before he did it. Generally, when we seek to impose criminal liability on someone, we want them to have a sufficiently malevolent heart or, to use the fancy law term, mens rea. We want them to have done more than guessed wrong or failed to pay attention.

They don't necessarily have to know that their conduct was criminal, but, as a general matter, we want to be able to say that they should have known.

...the point is that as many Supreme Court justices as not thought that the application of the criminal statute to him was unconstitutionally vague and violated principles of due process and fair notice.

THAT is the very definition of prosecutorial misconduct (at least in the real world.) It's similar to the "here and there, now and then, YOU'LL never know" application of RICO to Joe Scheidler.

It's prosecution based on "Whatever the Hell I FEEL like charging you with today!" and it stinks. Those who rail against "driving while black" ticketing ought to be right behind Scott on this one.

One hopes that the Appellate Court finds this as odious as it is, and reverses/remands.

And that Scott is released, if not pardoned, immediately.

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