It Ain’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Votes

I was thrilled by the possibility that Scott Brown might win the special election for Senator from Massachusetts… now it’s beginning to be a bit more thrilling: it’s looking probable.

It’s hard to imagine a worse candidate than Martha Coakley for any office. Even her defenders are having a hard time with her record. See this question and answer post at Bitch Ph.D.: Just Doing My Job?  

It’s almost enough to render me speechless, but not quite.

Basically, a reader of that blog wants to feel better about having decided to vote for Coakley, but can’t quite dismiss Coakley’s insistence on keeping an innocent man in jail. Basically, M. LeBlanc answers that all prosecutors do that so don’t worry about it.

So, what’s the moral status of advocating that someone who is likely innocent remain in prison? It’s a tough question.

Is that a tough question for my few dear readers?

Usually when you hear a lot of bad stuff about a political candidate, someone on his/her political team comes out screaming “it’s not true”. But that isn’t the case here. Coakley’s supporters are acknowledging some pretty awful acts and inactions, yet voting for her simply because… because why?

Does partisanship trump morals? Ethics? Everything? If so, we are truly doomed.

8 thoughts on “It Ain’t Over ‘Til The Fat Lady Votes

  1. You’ve hit on a really, really good point. IMO, the lack of concern for morality has it’s genesis in a belief that truth doesn’t exist. If “truth” is mere opinion: anything goes.

    IMO, what’s also missing with the anything goes people is a sense of the complexity of life. Think of the Butterfly Effect. If our actions might set off powerful unknown consequences at the back end, then we want our actions to be moral at the front end. The anything goes people don’t think life is that complex. They think they can control things. They believe in simple equations: vote for Coakley, “the nation is better off when Democrats are in power” (Terry McAuliffe’s rationale/selling point). They believe moral choices are rumors which are handy for keeping the saps in line.

  2. “So, what’s the moral status of advocating that someone who is likely innocent remain in prison? It’s a tough question.”
    The power of the State, as vested in the prosecutor/solicitor is huge. It contains discretion in who is criminally prosecuted, what plea bargains are offered/accepted, and what sentencing is sought by the people of the state. It’s certainly not something to take lightly, and it can certainly be abused.

    Nevertheless, some attorneys would say that the “adversarial system” we have in place is designed to function best when the Plaintiff (the State in criminal cases) seeks their maximum goal and the Defendant seeks their opposing maximum goal, with the result (justice) being somewhere in the middle. This may be true to a certain extent. To the extent that it is a “moral question”… as long as each side has a good faith basis for their position, I think everyone is on solid moral footing.

    The moral problems arise when one side goes from advocating to a “win at all costs” mentality, leaving behind the good faith basis for their positions.

  3. It’s not a tough question for me. Any prosecutor who doubts or knowingly prosecutes and innocent man or fails to fight for there release upon escapulatory evidence being found should be disbarred.

  4. “Somewhere in the middle,” to me, sounds like “Well, yeah, we did execute six people who turned out to be innocent, but hey, that’s less than X percent,” where X is nonzero.

    In other words, this is, as Sam Goldwyn probably didn’t say, “a carriage of misjustice.”

  5. CGHill – since I asked for ‘splaining I’ve had time to think, and what I think is the “somewhere in the middle” applies to everything but determination of guilt or innocence in a trial.

    It’s probably very applicable in civil cases.

    But I do like characterizing Coakley as a “carriage of misjustice”!

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