Monday, January 10, 2011

Loughner, Clarke make perfect pair

Even though Jared Lee Loughner was caught with gun in hand by witnesses to his shooting rampage in Arizona, he has the same rights and privileges as anyone else arrested for crime in the United States: He is innocent until proven guilty, and he has the right to legal representation.
The attorney is court appointed, thousands of tax dollars will go to his food and shelter, and even more will be spent on increased courtroom security, importing an out-of-state judge, and various other costs involved in a high-profile case.
The entire situation is a double-edged sword - the world knows he is guilty, but the laws can't be changed for this situation. Maintaining a free society with blind justice requires the judicial system to follow specific protocols.
However, in this case, I wonder if there was some backroom justice in the works when the court appointed Asheville native Judy Clarke as Loughner's attorney. Now practicing in San Diego, she has defended some very famous criminals:
  • Theodore Kaczynski - Unabomer who killed three and injured 23 others, sentenced to life in prison without parole.
  • Susan Smith - South Carolina mother that killed her sons, aged 3 and 14 months, by pushing her car into a lake and drowning them. She is sentenced to life in prison with first chance of parole in 2024.
  • Eric Rudolph- Olympic Park Bomber that was a fugitive for five years, spending much of that time in North Carolina mountains is now serving multiple life sentences.
  • Zacarias Moussaoui - 9/11 conspirator now serving life in a maximum security prison.
  • Timothy McVeigh - Oklahoma City Bomber killed 168 and wounded 450, was executed in 2001.
  • O.J. Simpson - Accused of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman hired "Dream Team" of lawyers including F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, and Johnnie Cochran. Oh, wait ... Clarke wasn't on this team, and O.J. was found not guilty.
Thankfully, Loughner confirmed in court that he does want Clarke as his attorney, so perhaps, with her ineffectual track record, justice will be served.

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