Patterico's Pontifications


Report: Duke Lacrosse Charges to Be Dropped

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 10:10 pm

The Duke lacrosse charges are reportedly going to be dropped — all of them.

Thanks to DRJ.

I Couldn’t Make This Up If I Tried

Filed under: Buffoons,General — Patterico @ 8:39 pm

Walter Murphy, that self-important blowhard who believed he was put on a terrorist watch list for criticizing Bush, now thinks he may have been taken off because he complained about it in phone calls to friends. This, he speculates, may have caused the NSA — which may well have been monitoring his phone calls — to take his name off the list.

It’s nice how one form of oppression cures another, isn’t it?

Offered Without Comment

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:54 pm

Lefty blogger TBogg says, over a picture of Condi Rice:

Oh oh….looks like a pouty Brown Sugar is going to ask Daddy to buy her another pair of Ferragamos Or invade another country.


P.S. This post appears immediately below the post linked above, and was posted 14 minutes earlier.

Never a Lawyer Around When You Need One (UPDATE)

Filed under: General — See Dubya @ 11:16 am

(A post by See-Dubya; these opinions are mine alone and not necessarily those of Patterico!)

On April 17th, Army Spc. Mario Lozano will be tried in absentia for the murder of an Italian secret service agent in Baghdad. Spc. Lozano manned the machine gun on Route Irish the night pro-insurgent reporter Giuliana Sgrena was released, and the car carrying Sgrena failed to stop when Army searchlights and lasers turned on it. Fearing it was a car bomb, Spc. Lozano fired at the car and killed Nicola Calipari, an Italian hero who had just helped to spring Sgrena from her terrorist captors.

This is another friendly fire tragedy, and the United States has cleared Lozano of any wrongdoing. But Italian prosecutors think this was a deliberate murder. It’s in the news because Rep. Peter King, who once served in Lozano’s regiment, is condemning the trial as a farce. (JYB tailwag: MM.)

What caught my eye was this quote from the Post article, emphasis mine:

A National Guard spokesman, stressing the matter was a regular Army issue, said Lozano was “not being left out to dry,” and there was a “combination of civilian and military” lawyers on the case.

That’s not quite what Spc. Lozano’s legal defense website said on April 6th:

Today Mario Lozano is under indictment by an allied nation. The US Army’s response has been to assign Mr. Lozano a part time lawyer. They are encouraging Mr. Lozano to allow the Italians to prosecute him unchallenged. The official stance is that as long as the trial is in absentia, Mario need not worry about the consequences. They are continuing to discourage Mario from seeking a dedicated civilian attorney.

Several prestigious civilian attorneys have recently met and conferred with Spc Lozano. The process of building a legal defense team of civilian and military lawyers is underway. A team that can successfully exonerate Spc Lozano in Italian Court, based on evidence, and jurisdiction, is expected to be up and running by next week. But Spc Lozano is a soldier, not a man of means. The civilian defense costs even with pro bono services by some attorneys will be expensive.

And now we run square beneath the hooves of ol’ See-Dubya’s hobby horse: This is a complicated international case, and important legal principles are involved. So why haven’t ten thousand lawyers jumped in to help this guy pro bono, like they did to defend terrorists in Gitmo? Why does Khaled Sheikh Mohammed get the benefit not only of white-shoe lawyers attacking the authority for his detention for free, but also of a Shearman & Sterling anti-Gitmo PR camapign–while Spc. Lozano is scrambling to raise money and assemble a legal team eleven days before his trial?

Is it because the big firms lack an opportunity to kiss up to big-money state clients like Kuwait and Saudi Arabia? Is that why they haven’t jumped out there to start up a PR campaign to swing public opinion behind Spc. Lozano? Or is it because everybody knows the way you make your bones in the big law firm world is doing pro-bono work to advance the Left’s agenda, and that helping out American soldiers and conservative causes doesn’t cut the mustard?

If it’s the latter, it has to change. And clients have to drive it. Now that’s a heretical thought. They’re already trying to disbar one lawyer here in California–Charles “Cully” Stimson–for even expressing it.

If you haven’t read my rant about that, please do follow the link. I’ve been on that tear since January and the problem keeps coming up. Accused terrorists seem never lack for well-heeled pro-bono lawyers; accused servicemen always seem to. It’s a disgrace.

Cross-posted at Junkyard Blog.

UPDATE: Friend of Mario Lozano John Byrnes, who wrote one of those NY Post articles linked above, stopped by the comments to tell us more:

Some good questions being asked here. Some I can answer some I can’t.
The basic situation with Mario today looks like this. The Army JAG has provided hime with legal support in the form of a part time National Guard attorney for several months. Two weeks ago they provided him a full time Army lawyer. Also two weeks ago they provided him with an Italian lawyer who I hear has a pretty good reputation. Mario only filed the paper work on the Italian lawyer last week.

I don’t know how much that lawyer has communicated to the JAG. Not much info has filtered to Mario. That lawyer said he was going to seeek a postponement, a good idea, since the trial is scheduled for a week from today.

This is why he needs a good American trial lawyer supported by independent funds. The army has been dilatory, to say the least. They discouraged Mario from seeking civilian counsel, or raising money. I’m guessing out of concern for their image. Therein lies the crux. Even if the Army pays for his civilian lawyer here, it puts them in the driver seat. So we have finally convinced him he needs his own independent counsel.

The idea of shopping this out to a large firm that would do it pro bono did occur to us. I did ask one former US senator (Dem) if his firm was interested; he politely replied they did not do criminal prosecutions. So be it. Two very successful criminal trial lawyers have signed on. One of them has convinced the JAG that they should cooperate with him. That’s where we are. So I and the friends of the 69th Infantry are asking for supoport.

John blogs at “punditsmyass“.

UPDATE FROM PATTERICO: This fellow might keep in mind that it’s possible that the Army is right. I haven’t done the research and this isn’t legal advice, but I can see an argument that it’s easier to challenge an unfavorable result on the grounds that it was conducted in absentia if the defendant has no counsel whatsoever. Just something to think about. I would think that an American firm might want to render some pro bono advice on that question, if nothing else. That would be a true public service.

Silliness from WaPo on Six US Attorneys Serving in other DOJ positions

Filed under: Government,Law,Politics — WLS @ 12:30 am

A really silly entry today from WaPo’s Dan Eggen on another non-controversy — the fact that six US Attorneys from various districts around the country currently serve in dual capacities by holding down positions elsewhere in DOJ.

The best he can find by way of “complaint” about such a circumstance is that a Clinton appointed judge in Montana has his knickers in a knot over the fact that Bill Mercer has spent a couple years serving in the dual capacity as US Attorney for the District of Montana, and a couple different positions in DOJ.

What Eggen manages to avoid reporting on in any fashion — and a few simple phone calls would have probably produced the necessary facts — is the question of what jobs Mercer has been involved in at Main Justice, and why was Mercer tapped for those jobs?

Well, I happen to know someone who was hired by Mercer while he was Acting Principal Assistant Attorney General, so I happen to know what it was Mercer was doing.

When Congress passed the Patriot Act 2, one of the things it created at DOJ was a new “National Security Division.” Link

That Division now has responsibility for investigating and prosecuting cases of counter-terrorism and counter-espionage. It was formed by taking the Counter-Terrorism and Counter-Espinoage Sections out of the Crimnial Division, and joining them with the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review.    The National Security Division was authorized by Congress to bring the resources and information sharing of counterterrorism, counterespionage, and intelligence gathering under under one Division with one leader — the new Assistant Attorney General for National Security.

Creating a new Division within a bureaucracy like DOJ takes a little work, even when its being created by bringing together two existing sections. But there was some problems internally at DOJ during the time this was supposed to get done. Ordinarily the Office of the Deputy Attorney General would handle the details of creating a new organizational chart — budgeting, lines of authority/reporting, personnel assignments, etc. But, the DAG office had departures in 2003 of Larry Thompson, and 2005 of James Comey, and it was in the fall of 2005 that the real work of creating the National Security Section began. But the DAG office was emply from July 2005 — Paul McNulty would become Acting Dep. AG in Nov. 2005, and was later confirmed in March 2006 — Mercer in his role as Acting Principal Assistant Attorney General (de facto serving as Acting DAG at the same time), was given the task of beginning the process of getting the National Security Section formed, up and running.

Based on the work that Mercer did in getting the process rolling before McNulty became Dep. AG, Mercer was later nominated by the Pres. to be the Principal Assistant Attorney General — the No. 4 slot in Justice. That nomination has been pending for 8 months without Senate confirmation.

What would the WaPo have Mercer do — resign as US Attorney for Montana while the Senate twiddles its thumbs on his nomination?

Same for the US Attorney in Massachusetts — I’m sure he would like to be confirmed as Director of ATF where his nomination is pending, and would resign as US Attorney.

“The growing reliance on federal prosecutors to fill Washington-based jobs also comes amid controversy over the firings of eight other U.S. attorneys last year.”

That’s from Eggen also. Six US Attorneys out of 94 hold down a second position — and as I’ve noted, two of those 6 are holding offices for which they’ve been nominated by the President and are awaiting Senate action.

The absences by Iglesias that were used in part to justify his firing are of a wholly different nature, and led to complaints from WITHIN his office. By his own admission he was taking 6 weeks a year for Naval Reserve duty, in addition to other time he spent away from his district attending conferences and other such gatherings — and there are no shortage of such opportunities for US Attorneys.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. When a gov’t employee like Iglesias heads off to military reserve duty, its not completely an act of selflessness in service of one’s country. By law the military reservist is entitled to receive his/her regular government salary while away on military reserve duty. That reservist also draws a military salary for the time on reserve duty. I know AUSAs who are former JAG officers and who do their reserve duty every year, making an additional $12,000 to $15,000 in income that way.

And, more significantly, for those that had a significant period of active duty service — and I think Iglesias did — the time spent on reserve duty is added to their service time for purposes of calculating military retirement pay when they reach the eligible age.

So, Iglesias was away from his office 6 weeks a year on Naval Reserve duty, drawing double salary while doing so, and earning service time credit towards both a military retirement and a civilian retirement.

My Tale of Oppression

Filed under: Buffoons,Morons,Terrorism — Patterico @ 12:01 am

I feel for Prof. Walter Murphy, who was placed on the No-Fly list for his criticisms of the Bush Administration.

It happened to me too.

Like Prof. Murphy, I too am a sharp critic of ROE V. WADE, and supported the Alito nomination. But, like Prof. Murphy, my conservative credentials are no longer sufficient to prevent me from becoming an enemy of the people.

Like Prof. Murphy, I, too, was once asked to step aside for “further screening.” And another time, my family’s luggage was “lost” and not returned to us for two days. What’s more, the airline “forgot” about our request to have the luggage left on our doorstep. The guy knocked on the door at 2 a.m., rousing the entire family from slumber.

Yes, George W. Bush still hasn’t forgiven me for saying that he was too “stupid and lazy” to pick a better Supreme Court nominee than Harriet Miers.

It gets worse. Last night, I wanted another glass of Pinot Noir, but the waitress “didn’t notice” my frantic hand-waving and pointing at my empty glass.

That was because of my defense of the Scooter Libby prosecution.

Oh, sure, some waitresses are busy. But I clearly saw her look furtively at me from the corner of her eye. Yet she kept walking — all because I wouldn’t toe the line and trash Patrick Fitzgerald.

They got to her.

So I salute the valiant Prof. Murphy. And shame on naive fools like this guy, who say that Prof. Murphy’s name was not on the list for political reasons. Does he think he’s some kind of expert, just because he “spent more than four years reporting on watchlists, filing Freedom of Information Act requests, and talking with persons flagged by the lists”? Like that gives him some basis for knowing? Prof. Murphy heard it straight from the horse’s mouth: some guy behind the ticket counter!

We truly are living in 1984!

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