Thursday, July 26, 2007

Snap reaction to the Jude verdicts

I always get a little uncomfortable about civil rights charges based on essentially the same conduct that has underlied state charges upon which a defendant has been acquitted. The circumstances under which it can be done are sufficiently limited that I don't regard it as a major threat to civil liberties, but there is something about the authorities having two kicks at a defendant that makes me hinky.

Having said that, the verdicts this afternoon in the Jude case seem amply supported by the evidence. Coming back to my office from a meeting, I heard some callers on WMCS suggest that, while this is a good thing, you still "can't get justice at home" by which, I take it, they meant the Milwaukee County DA's office and a Milwaukee County jury.

I don't think that's right. The better explanation is that the DA's office made strategic choices in the first case that backfired. In this case, the prosecution had the benefit of some cops who flipped. I think that, and not the prosecuting agent or jury pool, made the difference.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I find the first sentence of your post baffling. As you know, its not a double jeopardy issue. So where does your sudden, nuanced discomfort on criminal justice/civil liberties comes from?

As a separate matter, McCann blew the case because he was hurriedly trying to create a legacy for himself, not pursuing justice. He was out to prove some point about police culture, not get the conviction. I thought at the time it was shameful and, among other things, today's convictions confirm it.