Sunday, September 22, 2013

Siegleman, DeLay and Repug Injustice

You can always identify the powerless in society by measuring their treatment by the criminal justice system. Minorities, the poor and the mentally ill are imprisoned far out of line with their population for minor offenses that their white and wealthy counterparts commit with impunity.

To those groups add Democratic politicians who dare to win elections in red states.

Brad Friedman:

Ironically enough, I had the opportunity to speak for a few minutes with former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman in federal prison over the weekend. Siegelman, a Democrat, has so far served nearly two years for a "crime" * that had never before been considered a crime before he was found guilty of it. He is likely to serve many more years in prison for the charges brought by Republicans, including a federal prosecutor whose husband was the Chief of Staff of Siegelman's gubernatorial rival Bob Riley, a team of folks, including the judge, who are all good friends of Karl Rove and who are said to have "coached, cajoled and threatened" the star witness in the case.
Today, in the meantime, Tom DeLay, the former Republican leader of the U.S. House of Representatives, who was convicted of money-laundering hundreds of thousands of corporate dollars in Texas to give them to candidates --- something which has been an actual crime for decades in the state --- was acquitted of all charges by a 2 to 1 decision of a Texas appeals court.

DeLay never served a day in prison. Siegelman, on the day he was convicted, before the appeals process could even begin, was shackled and carted away. The basis for Siegelman's conviction has subsequently been challenged in a letter signed by a group of 113 bi-partisan former state attorneys general.
 Where conservatives control the legal system, justice dies.

*That would be the "crime" of doing political favors for campaign contributors. There's not an elected official in the country - state, local or federal - who does not commit this "crime" every single day.  It's how the political system works. Yet of those tens of thousands of elected officials, only one has been prosecuted and imprisoned for it.

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