Skip to comments.What's Happening To Rush Should Worry Us All
Posted on 01/30/2004 6:34:50 AM PST by AlwaysLurking
What's Happening To Rush Should Worry Us All
Published: Jan 31, 2004
R ush Limbaugh is under investigation for doctor-shopping to sustain his prescription drug habit. Last week Palm Beach County prosecutors released confidential information showing that the conservative radio host initiated plea negotiations but failed to cut a deal.
Without having charged him with anything, they cast the suspicion of guilt over Limbaugh by revealing that he was willing to bargain.
Whether you love him or hate him, what's happening to Limbaugh is scary. Negotiations for a possible plea agreement are generally thought to be confidential. And they should be. Without a good-faith belief that such preliminary conversations will remain confidential, no defendant would engage in them and the justice system would slow to a crawl.
Think, too, of how such information could taint prospective jurors: If they hear that someone considered a plea bargain, they may well begin their deliberations with a presumption of guilt, not innocence.
Prosecutors said they sought and received advice from The Florida Bar and the Attorney General's Office and learned that they were obliged to make the letters public.
But both the Bar and Attorney General Charlie Crist's general counsel, an expert on public records law, say they were misrepresented.
``It seems to me that the purpose in contacting me about this issue may not have been to obtain impartial advice on an open government issue, but rather to use a part of our conversation to justify your office's decision that the documents should be released,'' wrote Assistant Attorney General Pat Gleason.
``This is disappointing to me personally and professionally.''
Added Bar President Miles A. McGrane III: ``I don't think the Bar or any organization provides services as a straw man to hide behind. In our opinion, misstatements were made about our role.'`
Prosecutors do not have to turn over investigative records until an inquiry is complete. Likewise, they should not turn over preliminary conversations about a plea bargain unless the deal is done.
That they would so willingly release sensitive documents in this case gives credence to the notion that Limbaugh is being singled out for harsher treatment because of his politics and celebrity.
This is commonsense even to those not part of the judicial system. That a prosecutor's office would reveal these letters, given that plea negotiations are part of their jobs implies willful disregard for the privacy of Limbaugh and woeful disregard for the law. That they misrepresented the The Florida Bar and the Attorney General's Office, is tantamount to criminal behavior.
Heads should be rolling soon.
Whether you like Rush or not (and I think we know which side of that argument AbsoluteJustice falls), treating him differently from any other defendant, particularly a first offender, is an infringement of equal protection clause of the 14th Amendement to the Constitution.
From the Legal Information Institute at Cornell (http://www.law.cornell.edu/topics/equal_protection.html):
The Equal Protection Clause of the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution prohibits states from denying any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws. See U.S. Const. amend. XIV. In other words, the laws of a state must treat an individual in the same manner as others in similar conditions and circumstances. A violation would occur, for example, if a state prohibited an individual from entering into an employment contract because he or she was a member of a particular race. The equal protection clause is not intended to provide "equality" among individuals or classes but only "equal application" of the laws. The result, therefore, of a law is not relevant so long as there is no discrimination in its application. By denying states the ability to discriminate, the equal protection clause of the Constitution is crucial to the protection of civil rights.
I've been railroaded twice in my career. Once was after speaking out at a meeting I attended while on my own time. I actively spoke out against the changes that were going to be made in our department, and questioned the Commissioner on his failure to know anything about the facility he was visiting. He was booed and over 1,000 people walked out on him. Within the next week, I was brought up on charges by the department for an argument I'd had with an inmate. The incident itself wasn't out of the ordinary. It happens all the time in prisons. But, because I had embarrassed the Superintendent and his lackeys, I was made an example of. They wanted my job, but they only got a months pay.
The other time I was disciplined was for bringing my laptop computer into work a few times, and going online with it. Again, they wanted my job, but got a $3,000 fine and a year's probation.
Now, I realize that in both cases I gave the big-wigs the opportunity to burn me. You can't be outspoken or a wave-maker without expecting the other side to look for any chance they can get to go after you.
The incidents I mentioned took place 10 years apart. As I said before, the argument I had with the inmate is an occurrence that happens every day in prisons. In most cases, these arguments never get a second glance, but in my case it did, and only because I had ticked someone at the top off. The laptop incident could have probably been overlooked by the administrators. After all, other officers and supervisors had been caught with televisions in their offices and received no punishment whatsoever. In my situation, the use of my laptop spanned a few days. In the case of the televisions, they had been used continually by the staff over months and years. I used the facility phone line to connect to the internet. They used the facility cable system to get programming. My first reaction to the lack of discipline for these individuals who were caught with the TV's was: "Maybe I should have brought a TV in instead of my laptop." However, I never made a stink over it, paid the fine (it took three years), and never looked back.
The point I am trying to make is that there is always someone out there in the position to burn you. If you tick people off, and you put yourself in the position to be burned by those people, you will get burned. Nobody's squeeky clean. I gave these people the ammo to go after me. And Rush delivered himself up on a silver platter for the DA in Florida.
One minor difference - Fastow and his wife were indicted. That means they were actually charged with a crime. So far, Rush has not been charged with anything.
It's very different when there are charges pending, then everything is in the public record, but until charges are filed, any discussions should be private.
Perhaps you would grace us with some details. In these thousands of cases, who released the information?
Secondly, has anyone notice in this that Rush has never offered to plea guilty to a crime?
I was wondering, what smell was...the stench is REALLY AWFUL..and I'm in Ky...and with the prevailing winds....clear 'round the world.
Same thought occurred to me when it all started--that even in NYC he'd have more breaks cut him. This was the crookedest spot in the US during the 2000 election.
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