Friday, January 20, 2006
McCann Surrenders !
After devoting seven days of trial and God knows how much taxpayer money to bringing charges against the Milwaukee 5, the DA's office punts in the red zone by cutting a deal with four of them.
Speaking as a guy who has practiced law for almost 25 years, I can't imagine any self-respecting lawyer doing this. If you wanted to let these guys cop to a misdemeanor and walk away, I am sure that deal could have been made without going to the time and expense of a trial. To do it because you get a note that the jury thinks its deadlocked after six hours is silly. Judge Brennan was absolutely correct in observing that six hours is not a long time to deliberate after a seven day trial and undeniably right in telling them to continue. It really is hard to avoid at least the suspicion that the DA's office saw this as an opportunity to bail on what it saw as a no-win situation. I don't see how it is a reasonable compromise by a prosecutor who wants a conviction. Why, after devoting just about all the resources that you are going to have to devote, would you, essentially, let the defendants go at the first small sign that you might not win?
That the remaining defendant was found not guilty doesn't really change anything. Even if that suggests the others would have been acquited (and there's no reason to assume that), the deal they made within the other four didn't get anything.