Now that I've finally gotten to watch this video I have to say that I am disappointed to some degree. Not in anything I said or did, I feel I did fine in the sliver of time I was given. I will never understand a show format where there is not enough time alloted for a complicated subject. Of course, if you are a guest on to talk about 'rasslin' then they seem to be more than willing to give you half the show. I am not sure if that reflects worse on the American people for watching and wanting that kind of crap or on the networks who feed it to them in the name of profits and ratings.
On the whole I feel it was a successful attempt to point out the outrageous hypocrisy of the drug war by comparing the sentences between child sodomizers and pot smokers and the fact that convicted/admitted child sodomizers can get money for college whereas convicted pot smoker cannot. Also in how the state prioritizes the cases. I am very grateful though for the opportunity to compare these crimes and sentences to a national audience.
When I did the spot on WVNN w/Dale Jackson (which by the way was GREAT...Hannity & Colmes should take a page from his book) this morning Dale asked me why non-violent substance users are so much more highly sought after and prized as opposed to dangerous people like Jerry Wayne Love.
The answer to that question is that the system is financially rewarded for rounding up non-violent drug offenders. It literally depends on non-violent drug offenders to even exist. Without us the whole thing would crash. See, cops get Fed money for drug task forces (BYRNE Grants)...free or reduced cost military gear, they confiscate cars and possessions of drug offenders and prisons get Fed (RSAT) money for drug treatment in prisons. They also get to extort money from offenders through drug courts, court referral, drug education classes, piss tests and probation and parole costs. They do not get any money for imprisoning child sodomizers and the number of people who sodomize children as compared to the number of peaceful citizens who like to smoke a joint once in a while, are extremely low, so there is little chance they can extort them to the same astronomical proportions.
Because of this failed war on drugs, assistant DA's waste enormous amounts of time tracking toxicology reports on pot cases and taking pleas and revoking people on dirty urines or inability to pay court costs. ( these people make up 35% of Birmingham's arrestees) ,when instead , they could be preparing the essential evidence that really makes a solid case against the really dangerous people, so they don't have to plea cases down to get a conviction . In short....there is no real incentive to go after child sodomizers...there's no money in it for the system and it involves actual work to prove a case like that.
So, you see, it isn't about public safety at all. That should give everyone who reads this post pause. Is this really how we want our justice system to operate?
A couple more things. I want to share some of the email I received from a Huntsville attorney yesterday who has argued cases before Judge Karen Hall. I will not reveal my source on the condition on anonymity. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the statements made, but feel it gives a great deal more insight into how this outcome may have come about. I asked specifically about how Judge Hall handles drug cases and here is what my contact had to say.
I believe Judge Hall to be an outstanding Judge, and honestly, one of the strictest on crimes against children, as well as drug crimes.
Her common practice on drug cases is to drug test the defendant just prior to taking a plea and if they are positive, then making a decision based on their prior contact with the system as to whether she will take the deal worked out with the District Attorney. For the most part, she allows a sincere effort at rehabilitation (treatment) on a first time drug offender. But she has little patience for repeat offenders.
These are some of the more important points that this contact thought the public should be aware of in this case.
Some points that I think are important:
* If these young men are in the foster care system, then who made the decision on their behalf to accept this deal? The policy of the DA's Office here is that on violent or sexual crimes, the victim or the guardian of the victim must agree to any plea offers made by a prosecutor. Even if the young men were consulted, they are not in a position to make such a serious decision. Perhaps their Guardian Ad Litem should have been consulted.
* Judge Hall is a very strict judge. That is why it is so out of character for her to have approved this plea agreement. The only explanation is that there were representations made to her by the DA's Office that would lead her to believe that the Defendant may have walked out with no conviction. This is a fault of the prosecutor, and goes back to her preparedness on this case.
* While Judge Hall did have the final decision, the blame rests primarily on the shoulders of the DA's Office. There is no check and balance system in place for Tim Morgan to make sure this doesn't happen.
I agree with everything except the judge being less complicit than the DA. The final decision whether to accept that plea agreement rested with the Judge. She was the final hope for justice for these kids and she failed in her duty in a way so big that I cannot think of a word that adaquately sums it up.
Dale from WVNN asked me this morning what I was going to do about this case since I have something of a high public profile. The first thing I am going to do is file a complaint with the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission. I'll be working on that today and will post it when I am done so that others who have never done that before will have a sort of guide. I have a 1-0 track record for getting judges held accountable for their actions....and that is a better track record than most. If people file complaints then an investigation will ensue into this judge and this case.
I will also file a complaint with the Alabama Bar Association and I do not think it unreasonable to also file a formal complaint with Attorney General Troy King's office asking him to investigate why the DA's in this case offered such a sweetheart deal to a child sodomizer. It seems to me that with King all hot after the death penalty for child molesters that he would jump all over this case and rectify this horrible miscarrage of justice. I think it would certainly earn him points with the people of Alabama.
That's my rant. What do you think?