by Simon Black
In early 2007, the brand new District Attorney for Milwaukee County, Wisconsin gave an interview to a local newspaper spelling out his ‘progressive’ approach to crime.
He told the reporter:
“Is there going to be an individual I divert [i.e. release back onto the street] or I put into treatment program, who’s going to go out and kill somebody? You bet. Guaranteed. It’s guaranteed to happen. It does not invalidate the overall approach.”
(Actually his approach is invalidated by the data; rape, homicide, arson, aggravated assault, and other violent crime have risen dramatically in Milwaukee. His approach is clearly not working…)
But last Sunday, one such criminal– Darrell Brooks– who benefited from this prosecutor’s legendary clemency, drove his SUV into a crowd of people, killing six… including an 8-year old child.
Brooks is a classic repeat offender; he had just been arrested a few weeks prior for runing over his ex. And his numerous felony convictions go back two decades.
The only reason he was on the streets was because of this District Attorney’s outrageous progressive policies.
One HUGE problem in the United States is how ambitious people see prosecutor jobs like District Attorney and Attorney General as stepping stones to higher political offices.
Kamala Harris, for example, got her start as a prosecutor, first winning the office of San Francisco District Attorney back in 2003. She later became California Attorney General in 2010, then Senator in 2016.
Jumping from prosecutor to politician is extremely common. But it creates bad incentives for ambitious prosecutors to abuse the system for their own political gain.
We’ve seen this a lot lately– prosecutors bringing up ridiculous, dubious charges in high profile cases simply to increase their national name recognition.
Other prosecutors will use their offices to make noise about their ‘progressive’ approach to crime, in an effort to win broad support from the left. Or they’ll often NOT prosecute prominent individuals to gain political favor.
This is extremely unethical. The criminal justice system is supposed to keep bad people off the streets.
Clearly there are way too many laws criminalizing non-violent acts. And the system should ample room for discretion to give people a second chance. But not 20 years of second chances.
People like Darrell Brooks are on the streets because prosecutors, oftentimes for personal and political gain, simply refuse to follow the law.
I’ve written about this concept a lot lately– the rapid deterioration of America’s ‘Rule of Law’.
Rule of Law is an idea that goes back thousands of years to the days of Hammurabi’s Code. It suggests that you can’t simply change the law whenever you want. Clear rules should be applied and followed equally across society, without exception.
A strong Rule of Law was once a major cornerstone of western civilization… right alongside capitalism, individual liberty, and a sense of community.
Each of these is vanishing at an astonishing pace. And with respect to Rule of Law, we constantly see new examples where government officials will either ignore the rules, or simply invent new rules, to do whatever they want.
Several months ago, for example, the CDC Director invented the authority to take control of the entire $10+ trillion US housing market.
Obviously nothing under the Constitution or US federal law grants her that power. But she arbitrarily decided that housing fell within her jurisdiction… and hence she felt entitled to issue a moratorium on evictions.
Last week the Federal Trade Commission (whose new chairwoman is a hardcore Marxist) announced they would “identify additional legal theories” to stop mergers in the energy sector.
In other words, they don’t actually have the legal authority. So they’re just going invent some new legal concept that gives them the power to do whatever they want.
Last week’s verdict in the Kyle Rittenhouse trial was another obvious example; Hunter Biden’s dad raged that he was “angry and concerned” after the jury decided Rittenhouse was NOT guilty.
Yet when another jury delivered guilty verdicts against all three defendants in the death of Ahmaud Arbery, Biden proudly announced that “the guilty verdicts reflect our justice system doing its job.”
It’s amazing that the President of the United States publicly opines on the health of the justice system based on whether the jurys’ verdicts meet with his personal approval.
And this is an extraordinary testament to the declining Rule of Law in America.
Not to be outdone, the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee said Rittenhouse’s acquittal was a “gross miscarriage of justice and sets a dangerous precedent. . .” He also called for the US Department of Justice to “review” the case.
It’s no longer OK for a jury to hear evidence and deliver a verdict.
If that verdict doesn’t conform to what the woke mob wants, the government will ignore the law, legal tradition, and the entire system of justice, to demand the outcome that it wants.
As a final example, several months ago workers at an Amazon facility in Alabama voted whether or not to organize and form a union.
The vote made national news, because government officials all the way up to Hunter Biden’s dad were pleading with the workers to unionize.
The workers, however, had different plans. And they voted by an overwhelming margin to NOT unionize.
But yesterday afternoon the US National Labor Relations Board decided to invalidate that April vote. And they are now requiring the workers to hold a new election.
If you say anything about an election being unfair or fraudulent, then you’re a conspiracy theorist who is a threat to democracy.
Yet if the government doesn’t like the outcome of union election, they’ll just invalidate the vote until they get the outcome they want.
I cannot overstate the importance of this issue; strong nations have a strong Rule of Law.
And history is full of examples, from Rome to medieval Venice to the Ottoman Empire, which show that a deteriorating rule of law is a leading indicator of a civilization in decline.