Thursday, June 08, 2006

The Jury Has Reached a Verdict

Well, not the actual jury. But now that the state has rested in the trial against Georgia Thompson, conservatives are already preparing to make lemonade out of lemons.

Rick gets the ball rolling today: "I don't know if Thompson will be convicted (right now, I'm guessing not) but it seems very likely that the process was cooked. If she is acquitted, it will be no vindication of Doyle."

To sum-up:
Guilty verdict = Doyle is guilty
Not guilty verdict = Doyle is still guilty

Rick, of course, is smart enough not to come right out and say a not guilty verdict (or even a guilty verdict, for that matter) means Doyle is guilty. Rather, he just says an acquittal "will be no vindication for Doyle." The inference, however, is clear.

I doubt others will be nearly so tactful. Expect there to be a full-out assault of Doyle is guilty! cries from the right side of the ideological aisle regardless of how the Thompson trial actually concludes.

But, as a law professor from UW-Madison pointed out earlier in the week, the fact that Thompson even went to trial makes it likely that there's no connection at all between her activities and the governor. His exact words: "The very fact that there's a trial tells me that whatever pressure has been brought against her to name names hasn't worked. I would infer that there are no names to name."

So it appears that conservatives are actually trying to make Kool Aid with those lemons.

UPDATE: Fraley joins the fray: "Regardless of the jury's ultimate determination, the revelations coming forth through testimony appear to be quite damning to the Doyle Administration."


Anonymous Anonymous said...

you mean that professor that gave money to doyle's campaign?

is that the one you mean?

June 09, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

Please. Is that all you can come up with to refute his argument?

I bet every legal scholar in the country will tell you if a federal indictment is going to trial, it's likely there aren't any bigger fish in the water. The penalties are so stiff, no one is willing to face them unless there's no one else to give up.

Plus, Tuerkheimer wasn't the only one in the WSJ article to give the opinion that few defendants go to trial in federal cases unless there's no other option. It was also given by Marquette law professor Michael O'Hear, who put it this way: "The fact is, the sentences are so tough in the federal system, the best way to get any sort of a break on the sentence is to plead guilty and cooperate. Very few defendants are willing to roll the dice. Even some with very excellent defenses are just not willing to take a chance, because trials are kind of random."

Although perhaps O'Hear is nothing more than a Doyle campaign donor, too.

June 09, 2006  
Blogger Rick Esenberg said...

Turkheimer's point has occurred to me. He could be right. But I don't agree that anytime a case goes to trial it means that the buck stops with the defendant. It could mean, although I can't say that this is the case here, that higher-ups maintained enough insulation that the poor schlupp who got charged can't deliver anyone else.

June 10, 2006  
Blogger Seth Zlotocha said...

I agree that just because a case goes to trial the buck doesn't necessarily stop with the defendant -- but the fact that it's a federal trial sounds like it increases the likelihood that the buck does stop with the defendant.

The trial I'm most interested in (as are most people, I imagine) is the trial of Doyle, which isn't taking place in a courtroom but in the public eye. And, unfortunately, in that arena it's often guilty until proven innocent. That's what makes even a comment that's qualified by "although I can't say that this is the case here" so powerful -- in a real courtroom that would go nowhere, but in the public imagination it's got wheels, so to speak.

But the fact remains that if there isn't even enough evidence to convict the poor schlupp, what real likelihood is there that any insulation from higher ups even exists?

June 10, 2006  

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