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I was struck by a side comment offered by Larry O’Connor, in the February 12, 2020 “Examining Politics” episode. In a segment on the Roger Stone sentencing recommendations kerfuffle, O’Connor, as podcast host, noted that he had been involved in civil litigation in the DC area some time ago. He settled the case, and…
He was told that he had absolutely no chance of prevailing with a DC jury, that his known political affiliation made him a guaranteed loser. Think on that for a moment. If true, it was an assumption in the local legal community, “everyone knows,” that if you are conservative you will not get justice from a DC-area jury. This effectively reduces the value of every conservative’s lawsuit to the nuisance suit level.
What does that mean? Say you have “black letter law” (the actual law, passed by the legislature and signed by the executive) on your side in a civil case. Say your facts are unassailable; you have everything documented in a form that the other side will have no chance of challenging. Say your damages are worth a million dollars. And yet, every lawyer you go to for help tells you, “sorry, but the real value of your case here is whatever the jerk’s insurance company will write off every day of the week as the cost of doing business.” You, a serious plaintiff, are reduced to the status of a slip-and-fall plaintiff, because of your political identity.
By way of PowerLine, “Flight of the Drama Queens,” I got to the Knowledge Is Good blog. Intrigued by a screenshot from the court schedule controlling the Roger Stone case, I went digging for the source. What a treasure trove for geeks like me (and maybe you); I give you three recent entries by way of Court Listener. From February 14, 2020:
TRANSCRIPT OF PROCEEDINGS in case as to ROGER JASON STONE, JR before Judge Amy Berman Jackson held on November 15, 2019; Page Numbers: 1-16. Date of Issuance:February 14, 2020. Court Reporter: Janice Dickman. Telephone number: 202-354-3267, Transcripts may be ordered by submitting the Transcript Order FormFor the first 90 days after this filing date, the transcript may be viewed at the courthouse at a public terminal or purchased fro m the court reporter referenced above. After 90 days, the transcript may be accessed via PACER. Other transcript formats, (multi-page, condensed, CD or ASCII) may be purchased from the court reporter.NOTICE RE REDACTION OF TRANSCRIPTS: The parties have twenty-one days to file with the court and the court reporter any request to redact personal identifiers from this transcript. If no such requests are filed, the transcript will be made available to the public via PACER without redaction after 90 days. The policy, which includes the five personal identifiers specifically covered, is located on our website at http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov. Redaction Request due 3/6/2020. Redacted Transcript Deadline set for 3/16/2020. Release of Transcript Restriction set for 5/14/2020.(Dickman, Janice) (Entered: 02/14/2020)
This is about releasing the court transcripts, which may not be very flattering to the Democrats in career prosecutor camouflage. Look for them to try to get favorable redactions of the transcripts.
The letter sent by 1,100 former officials from the Department of Justice condemning AG William Barr is a travesty. That these former officials would demand AG Barr’s resignation in the face of the circumstances that have been publicized and the lack of a complete set of facts is so blatantly political that it should be embarrassing to all of them. They are so blinded by their political biases, however, that they have no clue about how they have tarnished their own reputations.
If we look carefully at this situation, we can see that there are differences of opinion on what actually happened regarding the sentencing recommendation of the Stone case. The protest letter authors assume they know exactly what happened, but given AG Barr’s reputation, I think they don’t have the grounds for a legitimate protest. In their letter, they make this statement:
The Department has a long-standing practice in which political appointees set broad policies that line prosecutors apply to individual cases. That practice exists to animate the constitutional principles regarding the even-handed application of the law. Although there are times when political leadership appropriately weighs in on individual prosecutions, it is unheard of for the Department’s top leaders to overrule line prosecutors, who are following established policies, in order to give preferential treatment to a close associate of the President, as Attorney General Barr did in the Stone case. It is even more outrageous for the Attorney General to intervene as he did here — after the President publicly condemned the sentencing recommendation that line prosecutors had already filed in court.
It’s a no-filter Friday on the Three Martini Lunch. Jim and Greg start by reacting to the Roger Stone convictions before even starting their martinis. Then they shake their heads as President Trump goes on a Twitter rant against former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovonovitch while she’s testifying on Capitol Hill and Adam Schiff immediately overplays his hand by calling it witness intimidation. Then Jim details the disturbing backgrounds of new Democratic presidential candidates Michael Bloomberg and Deval Patrick, including Bloomberg’s mistreatment of women and Patrick abusing his office to help a relative avoid registering as a sex offender. And they get some satisfaction knowing that even the finalists in the “Jeopardy! Tournament of Champions” have already forgotten who Michael Avenatti is.