Friday, July 07, 2006

A winnable motion

Word has it that today, lawyers for Gov. Fletcher filed a motion to have the misdemeanor indictments against him dismissed due to selective and malicious prosecution on the part of the Office of the Attorney General, as led by Democratic political operative Greg Stumbo.

This is a highly winnable motion because of the unprecedented nature of the charges brought against Fletcher and others in the merit system investigation.

Despite weak protestations to the contrary, patronage hiring has gone on since the merit system law ostensibly banned it. Yet no one had ever been prosecuted for it before, and certainly never has a grand jury been convened to spend a year investigating misdemeanors and costing the state thousands of dollars.

The most recent and most glaring example came during the waning years of Paul Patton's term. Patton publicly admitted, and accepted an Executive Branch Ethics Commission reprimand because of it, that he helped secure a promotion for a Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement officer who got Patton's mistress, Tina Conner, out of a traffic ticket at Conner's request. Patton chose not to appeal the decision and paid a fine.

This constituted an admission that he had violatd KRS 18A, but despite this public admission, former Attorney General Ben Chandler did not see fit to prosecute Patton.

If the judge needs arguments when he considers Fletcher's motion to dismiss on grounds of selective prosecution, Ben Chandler should be witness No. 1 for Ernie Fletcher on the witness stand. Then let Chandler explain why he chose not to prosecute Paul Patton for merit system violations. Not only will this prove selective prosecution -- a Democrat AG chose not to prosecute a Democrat governor, but a Democrat AG fired all guns at a Republican governor -- but it will force Chandler to go on the record on this issue as he contemplates running for governor next year.

This is a question that needs to be answered by Chandler no matter what political offices he pursues in the future. He must be pressed on why he condoned Patton's blatant and admitted violations of state merit system law.

Some will argue that Chandler more than made up for it by his pursuit of vote fraud and campaign finance irregularities stemming from Patton's 1995 election run against Larry Forgy. The big difference is that in 1995, the integrity of the election process was in question and Chandler had no choice but to pursue it. He certainly used prosecutorial discretion not to seek charges against Patton for patronage hiring, and that discretion set a precedent that should apply in Fletcher's case.

The prediction here is that by the time all motions are filed and appealed, the charges against Fletcher will be dismissed. There are several good reasons why they can and should be tossed out, and this selective prosecution motion is but one excellent example.


At 11:53 PM, July 11, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lets quit whining about Stumbo and start talking about good common sense policy.

If the Governor's lawyers were going to get a dismissal they should have made the motion yesterday.

Good Republicans need to re-examine their identity and reflect upon whether they are really the party of Lincoln (internal improvements; Federal supremacy); and Theodore Roosevelt (conservation; regulation of Food and Drugs).

At 10:32 AM, July 14, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yep to anonymous' post.


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