The ghost of Willie Horton

Politico argues that politicians on both sides of the aisle have been hagridden by the drubbing Michael Dukakis took with the Willie Horton ads.  When combined with his flaccid response to a law-and-order question during the 1988 presidential campaign, the Horton ads rightfully pegged Dukakis as confused and ineffectual on violent crime.  Almost 30 years later, however, there is growing sentiment that law and order has stopped being about violent crime and drifting into obsessive microcontrol--so much so that the dreaded Charles Koch is teaming up with people like George Soros and Corey Booker to spend oceans of money on a libertarian anti-criminalization campaign.  Sometimes odd bedfellows can agree that government is too big.

I'd like to see the criminal justice system continue to come down like a big hammer on people who think other people's pockets are their natural fishing grounds.  It's bad enough when they use the voting booth to satisfy their avarice, but if they're prepared to knock people on the head over it, they need to be put away.  Still, I wouldn't lift a finger to help convict someone of violations of 3/4 of the nonsense that's ended up on the criminal statute books.  I'd be some prosecutor's nightmare of a juror.  Someone's upset that Martha Stewart may have misspoken during an interrogation about insider trading that no one ever was able to prove?  Civil court, please.  Tsarnaev?  Shoot him, the sooner the better.

1 comment:

Grim said...

I also think jurors should evaluate the fitness of the law and the justice of its application, and not merely whether there is a law or if someone violated it. Someone once suggested that every few years legislatures should devote an entire year to repealing laws rather than passing new ones.