Justice Department shouldn’t feel pressure to favor ‘connected’ friends

Posted 13 February 2020 at 9:26 pm


I write with some questions, observations and a request.

Four career non-political federal prosecutors just resigned en masse from the Roger Stone case.  They had applied  Congress’s “Sentencing Guidelines” to his jury conviction for lying to Congress. Without following procedure those recommendations were thrown out and redone from the top.

The person who supervised that Division up to a few weeks before those recommendations were made was all set to testify in front of Congress at a confirmation hearing about her promotion to lead Treasury. The promotion was pulled the next day and Congress could not ask her questions about that and other pending matters involving, among other cases, similar perjury. Today she resigned in protest too.

Anything I write further about the facts may be given short shrift one way or another. But what is important here is the a old saying among judges and lawyers. It is “no matter what you personally think or the newspapers say, let the jury decide; the twelve people in the box always make the best and final decision!”

So I write to ask “Do we want to live in a country where the Justice Department and other Departments can be used to get back at critics and protect friends? I am, for example, no fan of H. Clinton but  “Lock her up” used to be a decision left to the Courts and not a crowd. Adhering  to the Rule of Law is the standard the world looks to when judging if a country is a democracy or strong man autocracy. We set that standard.

So I ask, where is that respect for the Rule of Law and the jury now? Have we lost it forever? And what happens now when a “connected” neighbor turns on you over, say, your dog barking or another political party is voted in? Should you live in fear you may lose your job or your freedom? Do losers at the ballot box go right to jail? Do winners get to release convicted criminals because they are a friend of a friend? In sum, is the “other” side trash to spit on and punish just because they disagree?

The Rule of Law and respecting juries were part and parcel of the country I grew up in. The country I cherish. I personally ask that we all be granted the right to be wrong.

Conrad F. Cropsey