(Just a short one today)
What do Hillary Clinton defending a child-rapist forty years ago and the arrest this week of the Benghazi Squirrel have in common? They were both in the news this week and they both provoked reactions from people who think the rule of law is optional.
I know that I harp on the rule of law quite a bit. Maybe it’s just a lawyer thing but I really believe in it. That’s because I think that the rule of law is one of the essential pillars of our freedom.
Terrorism and rape (especially child-rape) are heinous crimes but neither is an existential threat to our nation. We can go after terrorists and rapists without abandoning the rule of law.
When the administration announced the arrest of Ahmed Abu Khattala. the alleged leader of the attack on our facilities in Benghazi that claimed the lives of Chris Stevens and three other Americans, some people objected to bringing him back here for trial. They said that Khattala wasn’t a criminal, he was an “unlawful combatant” and that he should be taken straight to Gitmo and interrogated (tortured) without reading him his rights or allowing him an attorney.
They say that terrorists don’t have any rights. I say bullshit.
We only “know” that Ahmed Abu Khattala is a terrorist because the government says he is. While he has given numerous media interviews the past two years to the best of my knowledge he has never admitted to leading or participating in the attack that killed our people.
His guilt has not been adjudicated.
What if he’s innocent? What if he is just some local Libyan nutball looking for attention? What is the evidence against him? I wasn’t there, were you?
I have tried to avoid getting tangled up in the weeds on this latest story involving Hillary Clinton defending a man accused of taking part in the gang-rape of a 12 year old girl. But I have defended scumbags before.
Television lawyers like Perry Mason and Ben Matlock were extremely fortunate to get nothing but innocent clients. I wasn’t so lucky. Most of my clients were guilty – but not necessarily of the crimes they were charged with.
Criminal defendants are entitled to “effective assistance of counsel”. A defense attorney who dumptrucks his/her clients is not very effective. Even when you know your client is factually guilty you are still supposed to defend his rights.
That upsets a lot of people. But let me tell you something about those people that I learned from first-hand experience – when they get arrested they become fanatics about the civil rights of criminal defendants.
In every single community in America there is at least one criminal defense attorney that all the cops hate. They get called all kinds of nasty names from law enforcement officers.
But if that cop or his wife or his kid get arrested, guess which attorney they call?
We do not want to make it easy to put people in prison if we value freedom and justice. That is why our Founding Fathers created a system with a presumption of innocence and a high burden of proof on the prosecution.
We can survive a few bad guys getting away with heinous crimes. That is part of the price we pay for freedom.
Let me put that another way – would you trust Obama with absolute power over your life?