Tuesday, February 26, 2013

How to form a cult

So you want to create a cult, do you?

Creating an "us vs. them" attitude is one of the most effective tools in your arsenal. Take a group of people and convince them that they are standing up against the unruly mob banging on the door and they will turn their eyes inward.

Thanks to Big Jolly and Grits for Breakfast we have the presentation put up by the Grand Poobah of 1201 Franklin, District Attorney Mike Anderson, at a recent "ethics" training.

According to Mr. Anderson and Rob Kepple, of the Texas District and County Attorneys Association, those poor prosecutors are the only folks protecting us from the barbarians at the gate. They are maligned, scorned and mocked by those around them. The legislature is against them. The judges are against them. The defense attorneys are against them. The public is against them.

Add to the bunker mentality the cult-like figure of Johnny Holmes and you've got all you need to make your cult a going concern. 

One of the primary targets of Mr. Kepple's fury is the Innocence Project. In the eyes of Mr. Kepple those evil-minded ne'er-do-wells only want to make prosecutors look bad by asking to have DNA tested in case after case after case.

Mr. Kepple shows some serious man-love for former Williamson County D.A. John Bradley for his handling of the Michael Morton case. Should you not recall, Mr. Bradley blocked DNA testing on evidence found near the Morton home. In Mr. Kepple's words, Mr. Morton "got lucky."

Yes, he did get lucky. But he should never have had to go through the hell he went through. His life was torn asunder by Ken Anderson (now a judge) and Mr. Bradley. Mr. Kepple is still upset about the demise of Mr. Bradley. He's upset that such a law-and-order guy like Mr. Bradley was booted out of office by voters who were sick and tired of his tired schtick and the way he maneuvered for years to prevent DNA testing in Mr. Morton's case.

One thing that Mr. Kepple leaves unaddressed is how to prevent unethical and illegal conduct by prosecutors. In his view, Charles Sebesta, whose conduct led to an innocent man being put on death row, was just a bad apple (if even that). Prosecutors who resisted DNA testing were principled men and women standing up for what was right - the men challenging the evidence were the bad guys.

John Bradley did no wrong in the Morton case - even though we know an innocent man spent a quarter of a century behind bars for a crime that someone else committed.

And that fact doesn't even seem to play into Mr. Kebble's view of the world. He just doesn't seem to understand that if an innocent man was convicted for a crime - the real perpetrator is still out there. Instead of getting your panties in a wad because someone's getting exonerated, why not work to figure out who should have been prosecuted in the first place?

And then there's Brady. The state can always get away without disclosure by arguing that the evidence wasn't material. So does anyone at this training session urge a more liberal interpretation of Brady? Of course not. The goal isn't to disclose. The goal is to hide it away where it can never be found.

All hail the Great Grand Exalted Poobah.

Here's the full video courtesy of Big Jolly...

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