Trading Justice for Politics

The Republicans appear to have systematically perverted justice for political gain.

An offshoot of the US Attorney firing scandal is a more generalized look at US Attorneys:  (New York Times via Lindsay):

Most of the eight dismissed prosecutors came from swing states, and Democrats suspect they may have been purged to make room for prosecutors who would help Republicans win close elections. If so, it might also mean that United States attorneys in all swing states were under unusual pressure .

In one particular case, a woman was wrongly convicted (and her trial was used during a gubernatorial campaign):

While he was investigating, in the fall of 2005, Mr. Biskupic informed the media. Justice Department guidelines say federal prosecutors can publicly discuss investigations before an indictment only under extraordinary circumstances. This case hardly met that test.

The prosecution proceeded on a schedule that worked out perfectly for the Republican candidate for governor. Mr. Biskupic announced Ms. Thompson’s indictment in January 2006. She went to trial that summer, and was sentenced in late September, weeks before the election. Mr. Biskupic insisted in July, as he vowed to continue the investigation, that “the review is not going to be tied to the political calendar.”

Things will likely work out for Ms. Thompson:

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which heard Ms. Thompson’s case this month, did not discuss whether her prosecution was political — but it did make clear that it was wrong. And in an extraordinary move, it ordered her released immediately, without waiting to write a decision. “Your evidence is beyond thin,” Judge Diane Wood told the prosecutor. “I’m not sure what your actual theory in this case is.”

As long as she gets back what she lost as a result:

Ms. Thompson, a 56-year-old single woman, seems to have lost her home and spent four months in prison simply for doing her job.

This still blows my mind thinking about how utterly overt this was:

To charge her, Mr. Biskupic had to look past a mountain of evidence of innocence.

The decision to award the contract — the supposed crime — occurred in Madison, in the jurisdiction of Wisconsin’s other United States attorney. But for reasons that are hard to understand, the Milwaukee-based Mr. Biskupic swept in and took the case.

This is pretty damn blatant.  The Bush administration and the Republican party are misusing an entire branch of government to gain political power.  This is beyond damning.

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