Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Hartmann's Attack on Judge Brunner -- In Context

I don’t remember his name. Let’s call him Mr. V. He was one more guy charged with a felony 5 domestic violence for hitting his live-in girlfriend. He had one prior (thus elevating the case to a felony.) Typically, we couldn’t prove he was represented by counsel during his prior, meaning we couldn’t use it. His victim not only wanted the charges dropped, she fed me a lie of a story that would scuttle my case if I had to go forward.

So I pled him down to a misdemeanor DV, like scores of guys before and scores of guys after. Probation, counseling, case closed.

A year or so later he was less typical. I saw a newspaper item that Mr. V. had shot his girlfriend (the same one who was victim in my case) and her sister. Both were in serious condition, the sister in a coma. I looked up his record and found that after successfully serving his probation term, he caught another DV with the same victim. This time he pled as charged, went on probation – again typical – and was on paper at the time of the shooting.

The only thing remarkable about Mr. V. was the shooting. Prior to that, nothing made him stand out from the typical DV defendant.

Yesterday when I got a fundraising email on behalf of Secretary of State candidate Jennifer Brunner alerting me that Greg Hartmann would debut a new negative ad based on a case she handled as a judge. I braced myself for a Mr. V. case – every judge and every prosecutor has at least one.

In fact, Hartmann couldn’t even find a compelling case without distorting it. Mr. V. went heavy felony after I pled him down. Judge Brunner is being slimed for giving a guy probation, then finding out he had been molesting a relative before he appeared before the court. You can compare and contrast Hartmann’s spin job with the facts she provides.

Setting aside how little relationship a case like this has to her qualifications for the job – Secretaries of State sentence very few felons – the tactic is repugnant. It distorts justice and makes good people reluctant to run for public office.

I saw Judge Brunner at the Al Franken rally (and will upload the audio as soon as I can figure out how). She’s exactly what we need to clean up elections in the post-Blackwell era. If you haven’t done so already, consider a contribution.


Village Green said...

Hey glad you are back as you are the one who inspired me to attempt blogging. And boy, there are heaps of smear ads appearing all over the place now. Akron's starting to stink up like it did in the rubber days.