Home / General / Deficit-reduction suggestion: Stop wasting money on this sort of nonsense

Deficit-reduction suggestion: Stop wasting money on this sort of nonsense



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  • Scott Lemieux

    Has the meter passed $10 million on these fucking trials yet? I’d rather set the money on fire.

    • Scott Lemieux

      To answer my own question, according to Heyman the Clemens trial alone cost over $10 million. And apparently that didn’t buy competent prosecutors…

  • CJColucci

    These are experienced prosecutors. Leaving aside the question of whether they should be pursuing this case at all, how the f#*k did they think they could get away with that [email protected]&t twice when the judge had specifically told them not to use it? I’ve never seen a mistrial granted so fast.

    • CJColucci

      I shared this news with a colleague who is a former prosecutor, who remembers a mistrial being granted five lines into opening statement. Now that’s fast.

      • NonyNony

        Note that apparently the prosecutors in this case ALSO had an opening statement that had things in it that the judge had explicitly told them was not to be used – guilt by association with other players. The jury had already been told once to disregard what they’d heard before this.

        That’s … pretty damn incompetent. And suggests that despite the fact that Clemens was playing the “they’re using rigged evidence and I never did it” as his defense that the prosecution actually didn’t have anything better than hearsay to try him with because come-on – why bother with this shit if you actually have DNA evidence to show a jury that’s been watching CSI for a decade?

        • Scott Lemieux

          MY take, which I’ll probably expand on in a post later, is that we can infer that 1)they didn’t think they could get a conviction without the inadmissible evidence, and 2)they expected the judge to wink at it. Valuable lesson about the war on drugs, and 2) may well be valid assumption for people who lack Clemens’s resources…

  • rea

    WTF? No first year law student would fail to recognized that the prosecution was presenting inadmissible hearsay to the jury, and the judge had already ordered them not to do it–but they did it anyway. Prosecutors can be a crazy bunch sometimes, but what were they thinking of?

    This is it–double jeopardy will bar a retrial after a mistrial for prosecutorial misconduct. And who cred about this stupid prosecution, anyway?

    • Anonymous

      Since the defense requested a mistrial and the prosecution opposed it, its very likely the case that double jeopardy doesn’t attach and that a judge’s decision not to allow a trial would be overturned.

      Not to say that the case should be retried but I think that the judge will allow a trial if the prosecution presses the matter.

      • R. Johnston

        Absent prosecutorial misconduct that would be the case, but the prosecutorial misconduct here is clear. The judge explicitly told the prosecutor not to do something and he did it anyway. If the prosecutor presses the matter against the will of the court he’s as likely to end up jailed for contempt of court as to get a retrial. He should be jailed for contempt of court.

        • Richard

          The prosecutor is going to say that the mistake was inadvertent. The judge would have to make a finding that the error was intentional and then a finding that because of this, double jeopardy attached. I doubt this will happen. My take is that the judge will back down and let the case proceed to trial after a hearing this fall. If he doesn’t, I think he will get reversed on appeal.

          • R. Johnston

            If the mistake weren’t so blatant that might be the case. There’s simply no way, however, that this was an accident. You don’t accidentally present specifically excluded evidence that is the most blatant hearsay imaginable to the jury in a $10,000,000 prosecution. What almost certainly happened is that the prosecution expected the judge to instruct the jury to disregard the evidence but not for the judge to declare a mistrial.

            Given that the judge immediately sua sponte raised the issue of a possible mistrial, I’ve got to think that the judge sees things the way they really are here.

            • Richard

              If the prosecutors present a declaration that says they inadvertently included that portion of the Congressional testimony that included a reference to what Petit told his wife, I think the court allows a trial to go forward.

              I agree that the error was either intentional or very stupid but I’ve tried a bunch of cases where you show videotaped testimony to the jury and unless the judge spends time going over the exact content of the video beforehand, its not uncommon for mistakes to be made. To make sure there aree’nt problems, the party presenting the evidence usually presents a transcipt to the court and the other side, before it is shown, makes objections and the court rules on them. Dont know whether this was done here or not.

    • Fighting Words

      To be fair, most law students take Evidence in their 2L year.

  • R. Johnston

    Time to prosecute those prosecutors for their fraudulent misuse of government money. This “trial” now amounts to the theft of $10,000,000 of government money.

  • If this had happened in the context of sports we would all be justified in thinking that the US Attorney’s Office deliberately threw the game.

  • superking

    What’s so hard about telling Congress the truth? Sure, it’d be better if there wasn’t this silly mechanism for enforcing the don’t-lie-to-congress rule, but I don’t think we’re going back to the days when there were jail cells in the capitol. (Look it up.)

  • Brautigan

    When do we get to spend $10 Million prosecuting Fredo Gonzalez for perjury?

  • Jim Lynch

    I’m convinced the Justice Department intentionally botched its case against the late Ted Stevens. The U.S. Justice Department has been thoroughly politicized, i.e. corrupted by… well, I’ll refer to it as the “political class”. It turns a blind eye toward itself and its corrupt allies, most recently in the name of “looking forward, not back”. Its other eye is jaundiced.

    Then recall that while awaiting trial Clemens bragged about his friendship with ex-Texas Ranger owner GW Bush.

    • Bill Murray

      I’m sorry that’s inadmissible hearsay!

  • Sounds like the prosecutors threw the case like a shattered bat at Piazza

    I hope Clemens finds a little corner of hell is reserved for him, the lying elitist moron

  • My 2 cents: you can’t let people get away with perjuring themselves under oath in front of Congress. Once that happened, they needed to keep going.

    • seeker6079

      On an issue which Congress really should be ignoring in the first place.

      • Overall, on the issue of PEDs, I agree.

        In the particular case of Clemens, though, remember what happened: prosecutors were investigating him, and he spouted off that he was so totally not lying that he’d be willing to testify under oath in front of Congress, and they decided to call his bluff, thinking he’d either have to come clean, or they’d be able to nail him for lying.

        So, on this particular case, it’s a little more complicated that your run-of-the-mill Congressional jock-sniffing.

        • Richard

          I agree that the investigation of Clemons was a waste of money and resources. But then Clemons practically dared the government to do something – if he wasn’t such an arrogant asshole, they would never have been able to bring this case.

        • David M. Nieporent

          In the particular case of Clemens, though, remember what happened: prosecutors were investigating him, and he spouted off that he was so totally not lying that he’d be willing to testify under oath in front of Congress, and they decided to call his bluff, thinking he’d either have to come clean, or they’d be able to nail him for lying.

          That is incorrect. Prosecutors were not investigating him until after his Congressional testimony; lying to Congress was the only thing he was ever being investigated for.

  • Njorl

    I disagree.

    While I think Congress should never have jumped into this business in the first place, the Clemons trial is proper. They didn’t subpeona him. He demanded to testify under oath to Congress. It’s one thing to lie to a congress that is pointlessly persecuting you, but another to use Congress as a tool to shine up the marketability of your reputation.

    Yes, it will cost a lot of money to try Clemons. It will cost a lot because he is wealthy, and can afford to hire talented lawyers and expensive forensic experts to work on his behalf. If we make the cost of a trial a deciding factor, we are making the courts even more biased against the poor than they already are. Some of you are essentially saying we should save that $10 million so we can prosecute some people too poor to get a good lawyer.

    • kth

      Point taken about Clemens not being subpoenaed. But generally, Congressional show trials need to be reformed, so that their subpoena power needs to be more tightly connected to pending legislation or executive branch oversight. It would be nice if judges started either quashing subpoenas at the get-go, or subsequently dismissing perjury indictments when the hearings are such an obvious grandstanding sham.

      It’s perfectly conceivable that some pecksniff Congressman would decide that the widespread practice of athletes patronizing hookers ought to be investigated, and athletes called to testify under klieg lights, and either to cop to going with hookers, humiliate themselves with a 5A invocation, or commit perjury. That would be an abortion of justice, yet the only thing stopping Congress from doing this is that it hasn’t yet occurred to them, or at the moment they have bigger fish to fry.

      • Richard

        Congressional show trials have been around for a long time – HUAC, Keefauver on organized crime, tobacco executives, the list goes on. Congress is never going to curb their own power to hold hearings and, without Congress agreeing, the courts can’t tell Congress what to do or interfere with the subpoenas which Congress issues. And the court can’t dismiss perjury indictments because of Congressional showboating. In this case, however, Clemons testified without a subpoena being issued and, even if a subpoena had been issued, he could have taken the Fifth and not testified. He basically lied through his teeth under oath and then dared the government to do something about it.

        • Exactly. The limits of the Congressional subpoena power are pretty much defined by the separation of powers, and judicial interference with that power is essentially unheard of. A district court judge isn’t going to quash a congressional subpoena, because a federal district court doesn’t really have the power to tell Congress what its business is.

  • Njorl

    The stunt also seems pretty pointless. Petit was going to testify. The only value that his wife’s testimony has is to establish when Petit claimed to have heard from Clemens that CLemens was using. That would only be valuable if Clemen’s team claimed that Petit was making it up to ameliorate his own treatment. But if they made that claim, then Petit’s wife’s testimony would then become admissable to establish the timing of Petit’s claims, wouldn’t it?

    From what I understand, Clemon’s lawyers were never going to suggest that. Their story was going to be that Petit misunderstood Clemons.

    I just don’t see what the prosecutors were hoping to gain.

    • Richard

      I agree. The wife’s testimony only becomes admissible or even helpful if there is a claim that Petit was making things up but Clemon’s counsel in opening statement said that Petit misunderstood what Clemons said.

      • David M. Nieporent

        Is this some sort of comedy routine between the two of you?

        Clemens. Not Clemons. Not Clemen. Not Clemon.

        Pettitte. Not Petit.

  • “Fair and Balanced” Dave

    OK Roger Clemens is an asshole and a cheater. However it’s unlikely many people lost their jobs and homes because Clemens was juicing.

    The crooked mortgage lenders and Wall Street wheeler dealers responsible for the current economic crisis are bigger crooks than all juiced up pro athletes combined.

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