Thursday, May 26, 2005

Interesting Article from Reason Magazine

Above is an interesting link to what I see as government abuse of the judicial system. The government has engaged in a continuous course of practice that makes it difficult for defense lawyers to represent their clients - worse, in many cases they actually create reasons to prosecute defense lawyers and even tamper with witnesses (in my opinion that's what it is to let off drug dealers for the sole purpose of testifying against others). Here's an excerpt:

--->The Justice Department’s ambitions can be seen in several prosecutions during the 1990s in which criminal charges were brought against defense lawyers in an apparent attempt to muzzle the government’s most formidable adversaries. Two notorious examples are the prosecutions of the San Francisco lawyer Patrick Hallinan and the Minneapolis lawyer Randall Tigue.
---> In the early ’90s Hallinan, ranked by The Best Lawyers in America as one of the top criminal defense lawyers in the country, handed the Justice Department a streak of high-profile defeats, including a particularly humiliating partial acquittal and jury deadlock in the sensational prosecution of U.S. District Court Judge Robert Aguilar, who was accused of misconduct on the bench. Shortly thereafter the Justice Department cut a deal with one of Hallinan’s clients, a marijuana smuggler, allowing him to keep more than $4 million in forfeitable profits from drug dealing in exchange for his testimony implicating Hallinan in a drug conspiracy.
---> Hallinan was indicted, and the government pushed the case all the way to verdict, relying on the testimony of Hallinan’s former client and a number of other drug dealers who also received accommodations from the government for their help. Hallinan’s law practice was shut down for two years during the criminal investigation and six-week trial, while Hallinan fought for his freedom and reputation. Ultimately, it took a federal jury a few hours of deliberation to clear Hallinan of all charges.
---> Randall Tigue, a First Amendment specialist and former head of the Minnesota Civil Liberties Union, made enemies at the Justice Department through his longtime successful representation of Minnesota’s "porn king," Ferris Alexander, owner of a string of sex shops in the state. Alexander was a perennial target of the Justice Department for alleged distribution of obscene materials and tax evasion, but for about 15 years Tigue managed to keep his client out of jail and in business.
---> Then, when federal prosecutors attempted an innovative use of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act in an obscenity prosecution against Alexander, they hit upon an effective tactic for assuring that Tigue could not defend the case: They had Tigue himself indicted, alleging that he conspired with Alexander by helping him set up corporations for some of his business interests. Minnesota lawyers, convinced that Tigue had committed no crime, started a collection and raised $100,000 for his defense. A federal jury acquitted Tigue of all charges. But Alexander, without Tigue to defend him, was convicted of racketeering and obscenity.

Read the whole thing - then read this from Hit & Run (where I found the article).

Kid H.


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