The line is open. Kill no mockingbirds. | Arkansas Blog

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The line is open. Kill no mockingbirds.

Posted By on Sat, Nov 1, 2014 at 5:10 PM


The line is open. Let's play some football.

Why a photo of Gregory Peck in "To Kill a Mockingbird" you ask?

Because it occurred to me today that we have a Republican running for state House in Little Rock who's building almost the entirety of her campaign — after demonizing her opponent's four-year-old — on the notion that her opponent should be vilified for handling a single criminal case (normally he defends corporate clients) on a pro bono basis.

Atticus Finch worked pro bono, too.

Which reminds me: Defense lawyer John Wesley Hall copied me on a letter he'd sent to the Republican candidate, Stacy Hurst, who's running a bogus "poll" in which voters who express a preference for her opponent, Clarke Tucker, are then told he's represented a criminal defendant for free. John had a few thoughts about that:

Your campaign is making just about the most asinine telephone calls I've ever heard of. You are a public official, and your calls show that you violate your oath of office, the same oath that all public officials in Arkansas must take:

I, ______ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and that I will faithfully discharge the duties of the office of ____________, upon which I am now about to enter.

I see from your calls attacking Clarke Tucker because he has handled one criminal case as being soft on crime that you do not believe in the Sixth Amendment or the Fifth Amendment’s presumption of innocence. I take it from your campaign that you do not believe in the Constitution. I've handled thousands of criminal cases. I've even defended a mass murderer in a war crimes trial. You must be appalled that I believe in due process of law. I assume then that you consider me the scum of the earth.

Your calls clearly demonstrates that you either have little or no understanding of the criminal justice system or you are just pandering to the fear and ignorance of voters. Either way, you don’t deserve to be elected to the legislature and entrusted with making policy decisions.

I suppose you don't remember your history that President John Adams represented British soldiers in the Boston Massacre who were overcharged because of mob mentality. He called it "the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life," and you belittle it:

The Part I took in Defence of Cptn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently.

A President of the United States ... It seems that the voters in 1796 were less susceptible to campaign stupidity than today's voters.

I’m not in your district, and I know you don’t care at all about what I have to say because I’m a criminal defense lawyer, too.

But remember this: I’m not a lobbyist for criminals; what I am is a proud lobbyist for due process of law and fair treatment of those accused of crime and a protector of constitutional rights from people with attitudes like yours–those who would tear down our Constitutional system for political expediency.

I’ve spent 41 years in the criminal justice system on both sides of the courtroom. I was a prosecutor in Little Rock for six years, the last two prosecuting only the worst of the worst -– only career criminals. I’m a Past President of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (2008-09) which has as its mission insuring that those accused of crime are treated fairly and justly and with due process of law. I chose this career path in the civil rights era of the 1960's just because of people like you.

By this attack on a lawyer who has handled just one criminal case, you have dishonored the U.S. Constitution. You have dishonored your oath of office as a city director. Millions of people have fought and died to preserve our way of life, our Constitution, and you work to dishonor it. All for votes. It’s so perverse.

You don't deserve to be elected. If you are, don't ask to be on the Judiciary Committee since you will be lying when you take your oath of office.

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