Friday, February 9, 2007

Prosecuting the Prosecutor

The Phoenix asserts that Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley did a rush job.

In rushing to charge self-proclaimed "performance artists" Sean Stevens and Peter Berdovsky with disorderly conduct and placing a hoax device, Attorney General Martha Coakley's office violated a cardinal rule of the criminal-justice system. To ensure fair enforcement of the law, prosecutors are supposed to move slowly and deliberately, unlike police and anti-terror squads facing potentially time-sensitive public-safety concerns, and news media facing deadlines and competitive pressures....To make the felony hoax charges stick, Coakley would have to prove the two placed the devices "with the intent to cause anxiety, unrest, fear or personal discomfort," and that the devices were capable of "endangering life or doing unusual damage to property, or both, by fire or explosion." As for the misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges, any dolt could see that there was no disorderly conduct, just disorderly thinking ”and most of that was on the part of the authorities and the media, not the defendants.

The Phoenix then predicts that Peter Berdovsky and Sean Stevens will cut a plea deal, primarily because Berdovsky may fear that he will be thrown out of the country. However, I can't see the people of Massachusetts wanting to ship Berdovsky back to Belarus.


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