It’s probably the most famous quote about lawyers ever uttered. In “Henry VI”, Dick the butcher urges, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” If only Dick and Jack Cade and the rest had taken care of things properly back then. Maybe if Mr. Shakespeare had written that line for a character in one of his other plays… you know, one of the ones that people actually liked… instead of a play that was destined to be all but forgotten.
I work with (and for) lawyers. I’m surrounded by them. Most of them are pretty good people. Sure, they tend to look down their noses at anyone who isn’t a lawyer, but then again, so do doctors and William never wrote a line suggesting all physicians be disposed of.
But right now I’m tired of lawyers. Not so much because of my work (after all I’m compensated quite well to deal with the lawyers there), but because of what the sharks are doing to me… and all of us… elsewhere. I’m especially disgusted by the lawyers who masquerade as public servants. Legislators. Governors. Candidates for president. (’tis already Presidential Caucus season down here in Iowa… you can’t attend a county fair without bumping in to someone who wants to be the Leader Of The Free World. I’m probably the only resident of Iowa who’s happy about the slashing of ethanol subsidies. I’ve been waiting for 30 years for a Presidential Caucus where candidates would have to talk about something else when they invade our living rooms and coffee shops.)
They’re all annoying the hell out of me lately.
I’m even disgusted by the lawyers who led the state government of Minnesota to shut down… and I haven’t lived in that state since I was 13 years old.
But Assistant U.S. Attorney Steven Durham has sent me over the edge. I’m sorry, all of my friends who are lawyers, I know it’s not your fault and I know you’re good people with families who love you… but Durham’s actions have spelled doom for all of you. It’s time to be done with the whole lot of your ilk.
It’s bad enough that our federal government is spending millions of dollars to prosecute Roger Clemens (not to mention Barry Bonds and whoever else these lawyers think they can make a name for themselves by prosecuting), while we’re also being told that the country is broke and we all need to (a) pay more taxes, (b) expect fewer services, or most likely, (c) both.
Look, I get that a person shouldn’t be able to lie when he or she testifies before Congress. But if Congress is going to waste their time (and our money) grandstanding on an issue that is really nowhere near the top 100 issues they need to be investigating in the first place, then I really don’t give much of a flying fig if they get lied to.
I get that if a person lies under oath, he or she should face consequences, even if the circumstances that led to them testifying were stupid. And in the case of Clemens, I certainly have no sympathy for him, given that, in this case, my understanding is that he wasn’t even called to testify. This guy was so stupid that he ASKED to testify… and THEN lied when he testified. A guy like that should be locked up just for being stupid!
I think Mr. Durham and his co-workers could have busied themselves with much more important prosecutorial work than spending months (years?) preparing a lock-down case that was sure to put Clemens behind bars (or at least cost him a few million dollars in fines and his own lawyer fees).
But if you’re going to do all that, against my wishes, anyway…don’t screw it up!
Durham and the other lawyers spent days picking a jury. He bored everyone in the courtroom to death walking a former House parliamentarian through a discussion of what Congress does and why it’s so important. Granted, this may have been important, assuming the jurors are just as confused as the rest of us these days concerning why we should continue considering Congress to be important, but still…
Anyone in the courtroom still awake after that was treated to Durham guiding a Congressional staffer through the process of telling the jury how important the Committee for Oversight and Government Reform’s hearing testimony on steroid use in baseball was.
And then to emphasize all this, apparently, Mr. Durham started a video.
As I’ve mentioned, I know lawyers. I know good lawyers. I know bad lawyers. But I know that lawyers who make a living in court rooms go over every word… every gesture…every detail that they’re going to present to a jury. They go over it twice… three times… a hundred times.
So when, despite the judge’s pre-trial ruling that any testimony relating to Laura Pettite (wife of Andy) would be prejudicial to the jury and thus was off limits, the tape being showed to the court included references to that very thing… well… it’s really hard for me to believe it was an accident.
Durham is either a total moron or he intentionally disregarded the judge’s order.
Either way, the result is that all the money they (make that we, the taxpayers) paid to put Roger Clemens on trial went straight in the toilet. We have a mistrial one day in to the trial.
So now the process starts over. One side argues that charges should be dropped. The other side argues for a new trial. And we keep paying the bill. If the judge decides the screw up was intentional, the charges will be dismissed. So, in essence, Durham’s only chance at getting the judge to agree to a new trial is to convince that judge that he, Durham, is too stupid to live.
Since the only reason these prosecutors keep bringing these cases to trial is to get publicity, likely in order to improve their chances at higher political office… and since I’m realistic (and, hopefully, moral) enough to realize we shouldn’t actually kill all the lawyers… I hope you’ll all join me with in declaring we will never, ever, cast a single vote for anyone who wasted our tax money prosecuting one of these cases.
Let’s send the message out loud and clear. We do not need lawyers and politician-wannabes screwing up baseball.
We’ve got Bud Selig for that.
Roger Clemens - "Dumb" (Photo: Alex Brandon/AP)
Steven Durham - "Dumber" (Photo: Elise Miller/NYDaily News