Monday, December 31, 2012

Jerrold Nadler, Gun-Grabbing Leninist

A victim of "Legitimate" Federal Violence at Wounded Knee.

When the "heroic" (and much-decorated) Seventh Cavalry slaughtered hundreds of starving, freezing Indians at Wounded Knee Creek in December 1890, the perpetrators of that massacre weren’t committing an atrocity. Instead, they were exercising what New York Congressman Jerrold Nadler calls “legitimate violence.” 

After all, the mass killing was carried out as part of a civilian disarmament exercise – what we would now call a gun “buy-back.”  It simply wouldn’t be acceptable for the Sioux to retain any means to defend what little they had left from the government that had expropriated them and driven them from their homes. 

During the subsequent war to suppress Philippine independence, the U.S. military slaughtered at least 128,000 Filipinos – another expression of what Nadler describes as the defining characteristic of the nation-state. The same trait was displayed in the aerial fire-bombing campaigns against Dresden, Hamburg, Tokyo, and Yokohama during World War II, the nuclear incineration of Hiroshima and Nagasaki at the end of that conflict, the slaughter of tens of thousands of Iraqis on the “Highway of Death” at the end of the first Gulf War, the78-day terror-bombing of Belgrade in 1999, and the murderous siege of Fallujah (which involved the use of chemical weapons and depleted uranium rounds) in 2004. We shouldn’t neglect the vital role played by Delta Force operators in the mass murder of the Branch Davidians at Mt. Carmel in 1993. 
Nadler, pre-gastric bypass surgery.

During a recent Capitol Hill press conference, Rep. Nadler urged his colleagues to support confiscation of high-capacity ammo clips legally obtained by American citizens. When a reporter asked if the military should be allowed to keep its high capacity magazines, Nadler decanted a reply that was pure, unfiltered Leninism: 

“One of the definitions of a nation state is that the state has a monopoly on legitimate violence. And the state ought to have a monopoly on legitimate violence…. If the premise of your question is that people are going to resist a tyrannical government by shooting machine guns at American troops, that’s insane.”

The unexamined premise of Nadler’s reply is that it is perfectly sane and rational for the segment of society most deeply implicated in the violent deaths of innocent people to have a monopoly on “legitimate” violence. Embedded within that premise is the assumption that the same government that monopolizes violence will have the exclusive privilege of defining “legitimacy,” as well. For him, as for totalitarians of all varieties, that which the government does is innately legitimate, and those whom the government decides to kill have an inescapable duty to die.

Nadler’s reply was a more verbose rendition of Lenin’s definition of government: “Power without limit, resting directly on force.” The distinction he drew between “legitimate” and “illegitimate” violence brings to mind comments made by Dear Leader Emeritus Bill Clinton in an interview published by  Foreign Policy magazine, in which he defined terrorism as "killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority and go beyond national borders." (Emphasis added.)

By invoking the mystical notion of “state authority,” government officials act as necromancers, transmuting such base acts as “killing and robbery and coercion” into noble acts of public policy.
Your (militarized) local Sheriff's Office, circa 2012 A.D.
 While it is tragic and regrettable that the colonial-era American patriots allowed a central government of any kind to be created, it’s worth recalling that the Framers of the United States Constitution did not create a “nation-state.” They created – at least on parchment -- a confederated republic in which the federal government was given certain delegated powers to act on behalf of the states. 

 The American republic was fatally flawed ab ovo, to be sure, but it was not a “nation-state” of the kind brought into existence by murderous centralizers like Bismarck, Lenin, and Lincoln. 

The Second Amendment is actually a much worthier document than the Constitution itself. That Amendment served two indispensable purposes. One was to forbid (in concept, if not in execution) the federal government from disarming the state militias, which would (and did) lead to a deadly concentration of power. The second, and more important, purpose of that amendment was to recognize, unambiguously, the individual right to armed self-defense. 

That right exists independent of government, and cannot be infringed by it.
Most importantly, it establishes a critical threshold at which the government relinquishes any claim to legitimacy (at least among those who are willing to grant it such). Any government that seeks to disarm the people is one that can and must be resisted through force of arms.

Tax-devouring, ambulatory obscenities like Jerrold Nadler serve a useful function by making vivid and tangible the otherwise abstract evil connoted by the word “government.” The reason we have guns is to prevent the likes of Nadler from working their will upon us unopposed. 

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Dum spiro, pugno!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Sandy Hook and Pre-emptive Civilian Disarmament

Civilian disarmament advocates insist that the Sandy Hook Elementary School Massacre illustrates the dangers of inadequately restrictive firearms laws. That assumption is impossible to reconcile with the fact that Connecticut’s state government regards individual firearms ownership not as a right but as a highly conditional privilege subject to revocation without notice, on the whim of an unaccountable bureaucrat. 

In 1999, the Connecticut legislature enacted Sec. 29-38c, a measure allowing the police to confiscate firearms from anybody believed to pose “a risk of imminent personal injury to himself … or to other individuals.” All that is required is a sworn complaint “by any state’s attorney or assistant state’s attorney or by any two police officers to any judge of the Superior Court.” A warrant will then be issued allowing police to confiscate the firearms and hold them for up to a year.

The gun confiscation measure was enacted in October 1999, about a year and a half after the last pre-Sandy Hook mass shooting to occur in the Nutmeg State. The assailant, Matthew Beck, was an ex-employee of the Internal Revenue Service who at the time was employed as an accountant at the Connecticut Lottery Corporation.

A few months before the March, 1998 massacre, Beck had been granted a medical leave for stress-related symptoms. His application for a promotion had been denied. Several of his co-workers and relatives had become concerned about his emotional state. Some of his close friends believed that Beck suffered from suicidal depression. But nobody had expected that he would arrive at work one morning, take out a Glock, and start gunning down his supervisors.

As is always the case in episodes of this kind, the shooter ended the rampage on his own terms, killing himself before the police arrived. The on-scene security guard was similarly useless: The only aid he provided was to suggest to the victims that they take refuge in a wooded area nearby. 

Just weeks after the shooting, State Representative Michael Lawlor introduced the gun confiscation measure. 

State police Lieutenant Robert Kiehm explained to the Associated Press that the purpose of the measure is to give police officers the power "to take some proactive steps instead of waiting for something to happen." 

"The value of this law is not so much that police will seize your guns," Lawlor insisted when it took effect in October 1999. "It gives police a system to investigate a person who poses a threat. If the police never confiscate a person's guns, they can at least look into the person's behavior and perhaps prevent a tragedy by intervening." 

During the first decade following its enactment, Connecticut’s gun seizure law resulted in the confiscation of at least 2,000 firearms from people who were never charged with crimes. Nearly all of the seizures followed reports from concerned relatives – generally spouses -- of the victims. Attorney Rachel Baird, who has represented a dozen Connecticut residents whose firearms have been confiscated, insists that none of them posed any credible threat to anybody, including themselves. 

Lawlor, who is now the state’s Under Secretary for Criminal Justice Policy and Planning, invokes a variation on Dick Cheney’s “One Percent Doctrine” (“Even if there’s just a 1 percent chance of the unimaginable coming due, act as if it’s a certainty”) to justify the gun confiscation program. “Maybe it would have been just a suicide or a single murder of a spouse, but potentially one of these guys along the road could have been a mass shooting,” he told NPR. 

The standard set out in the Connecticut confiscation law – namely, that guns can be seized from anyone who presents “a risk of imminent personal injury to others” – would justify the pre-emptive disarmament of the police force. After all, the police constitute a body of armed individuals who are trained to employ violence and are rarely held accountable for injuring or killing others without a morally sound reason to do so.

If Lawlor’s defense of the measure – that it is justified by the prevention of “just a suicide or a single murder” – were applied seriously, it would buttress the case for disarming the police in Connecticut. Between April and June of 2011, there were four police suicides in Connecticut, a development that prompted authorities to convene a special statewide conference on suicide prevention. That argument is enhanced even further by the case of Hartford Police Officer Robert Lawlor (no relation, as far as I can determine). 
The killer: Robert Lawlor (r.).

In May 2005, Officer Lawlor was part of a federal task force called the Violent Crime Impact Team (VCIT). He and his partner, ATF Agent Daniel Prather, were deployed on the streets of Hartford looking for firearms to confiscate.  

On the evening of May 7, Lawlor and Prather – who were decked out in street attire -- were harassing somebody on a street corner when the officer spotted a black Maxima with a young black male sitting behind the wheel.

Lawlor strode up to the car, flashed his badge, and ordered the driver, a young man named Brandon Henry, to stop the car and keep his hands in plain sight. He had neither probable cause nor “reasonable suspicion” to justify the contact. A few seconds later, five shots erupted and Henry, in a panic, pulled away in the car. While the officers called for backup, Henry collided into another vehicle before staggering from his car and running away, depositing a bloody trail in his wake. 
The victim: Bryant.

Although he had been shot in the chest, Henry survived. His passenger, 18-year-old Jashon Bryant, did not. Lawlor, who had approached the vehicle from the passenger side, had shot Bryant in the head. A thorough search of the vehicle turned up a tiny amount of cocaine. No firearm was ever found.

Testifying under oath later, Prather admitted that he never saw a gun in the car – and never heard Lawlor mention one at the time of the shooting. An official investigation by the State Division of Criminal Justice concluded that "the use of deadly physical force was not appropriate." In other words, Lawlor had committed criminal homicide.

Unlike the people whose guns were stolen by Connecticut police, Lawlor’s background demonstrated that he was clearly a danger to the safety of others. He was investigated for a 1990 on-duty shooting in which a 15-year-old boy was needlessly wounded. He was sued on multiple occasions by professional colleagues, who accused him of malicious harassment and reckless driving that resulted in injuries to several other officers. 

Lawlor is the kind of fellow who speaks of himself in the third person when explaining to a reporter that he’s willing to bend the rules to get things done – and that his problems reflect the fact that his professional colleagues just aren’t worthy of him.

“If you're a boss, is it easier to bring Bobby Lawlor down or is it easier to take 40 other officers and bring them up to my level?" Lawlor said to the Hartford Courant following the 2005 shooting. "I've had problems with supervisors because ... I fight for the little guy and I know policy and procedure better than the supervisors."

“Policy and procedure,” from Lawlor’s perspective, apparently justified subornation of perjury in order to protect himself after he needlessly shot and killed Jashon Bryant. 

About a week after the shooting, a minor-league drug dealer named Jaime Diaz called the Hartford Police to report that he had the gun Lawlor had supposedly seen in Henry's car. Diaz, who insisted that he didn’t know Lawlor, provided a detailed statement to police describing how he came into possession of the weapon. Two weeks later, Diaz contacted the Police again to recant his statement, admitting that he was actually a confidential informant who had worked with Lawlor as part of a narcotics task force. 

Ten years earlier, Lawlor – once again, acting on “policy and procedure,” as he understood the concept – refused to arrest Diaz on a narcotics charge. Now that he was in serious trouble after gunning down an unarmed 18-year-old kid, Lawlor called in the favor. 

 In July 2006, after the State Division of Criminal Justice ruled that Lawlor’s shooting of Jashon Bryant was not legally justified, the officer was confronted by several of the victim’s relatives outside the Hartford Superior Court. 

When Lawlor returned a week later for a pre-trial hearing, "The entrance to the [courthouse] was lined with blue," reported the local NBC affiliate, WTNH. "State and local police in uniform were there to guard Officer Lawlor from friends and family of the man he's accused of killing...." 

Although there was no serious dispute about the facts of the case, Lawlor was acquitted in 2009. It shouldn’t surprise anyone that he displayed not a scintilla of regret over the fact that he had needlessly killed an unarmed and terrified 18-year-old boy. 

“No mistakes were made,” Lawlor defiantly sneered at Bryant’s father and sister as the bereaved relatives confronted the killer outside the courthouse. “Being sorry, to me in my personal belief, would be admitting some sort of wrongdoing. I did nothing wrong.” 

Lawlor did find it appropriate to express sympathy toward someone he considered a worthy victim. After the trial, Lawlor – who by that time had retired with a full pension -- whined that the verdict brought to an end “the longest four and a half years of my life.” He promptly filed a lawsuit against the prosecutor who had filed criminal charges against him. 

If Connecticut’s pre-emptive disarmament law had really been intended to mitigate public danger, Robert Lawlor would have been required to surrender his firearms, rather than using them to confiscate guns from other people. But if sociopaths in uniform are required to give up their guns, how would they be able to disarm the rest of us? 

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Dum spiro, pugno!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Prosecution as Persecution: The Carol Asher Case

 "Hi, my name is Larry Wasden," explained the short, stocky man, flashing a politician's practiced smile and extending a hand. "I'm the Attorney General."

"Mr. Wasden, my name is Will Grigg," I replied, shaking his hand. "Several years ago you tried to put a 66-year-old retired nun named Carol Asher in prison for fourteen years because she acted as a conscientious juror. Have you ever apologized to her for that abuse of discretion?"

My ice-breaker caused Wasden's smile to evaporate, and it was quickly replaced with an expression of perplexed surprise.

"What -- what abuse of discretion? What case are you talking about?" he stammered.

"Carol Asher is a retired nun from northern Idaho who was called to serve on a jury in a narcotics case," I explained. "She was one of several jurors who voted to acquit, and during the deliberations -- made in the confidentiality of the jury room -- she apparently made some comments about the fully-informed jury principle. This was seen as a violation of assurances that she would be bound by the judge's instructions. After the case was dismissed, one of the jurors reported her to the prosecutor -- and your office filed felony perjury charges against her."

"Well, I don't remember any of the details of this matter," Wasden replied as he started to sidle away from me.

"Perhaps you should re-acquaint yourself with them," I suggested.

"I don't really see any reason to," he said, walking away while displaying a dismissive smirk.

The occasion that brought about this brief but telling conversation was a December 12 meeting held at the Portia Club in Payette, Idaho to discuss the state's open records and open meetings law. Wasden and several of his associates -- people whose livelihood depends on official opacity, not public transparency -- were present to teach us how to ask just the right questions in order to get the self-serving answers they were willing to provide.

Wasden was obviously caught off-guard by a polite but pointed question, and more than likely offended by it. After all, a meeting to discuss the open records law was hardly the proper forum at which to demand accountability from a public servant such as himself. 

Hero: Carol Asher, conscientious juror.
My only purpose in attending the meeting was to ask Wasden about the Asher case. I knew he would be in attendance, and intended to confront him about his misconduct – but since he was the one who approached me, I can’t honestly be accused of ambushing him. Our conversation took place about five minutes before the meeting began, which meant that I was able to devote most of my evening to more productive pursuits.

Wasden was utterly mystified by the mention of the Carol Asher case, which was the source of considerable controversy in Idaho back in 2006. He honestly didn't remember who Carol Asher is, which is understandable. But he absolutely didn't care about what his office did to her, which is unforgivable.

“It’s interesting that Mr. Wasden doesn’t remember me or anything about my case, because he was certainly aware of it at the time,” Asher told Pro Libertate. “And after the charge against me was dismissed I wrote him a long, polite letter letting him know that I held no rancor toward him, and explaining why I took the stand that I did. He never responded to my letter.”

If I had inflicted needless misery on an innocent, law-abiding, 66-year-old woman, sleep would be a stranger to me until I had done everything possible to make amends. Beyond what I've learned from the public record and a very brief conversation I know nothing of Larry Wasden. The fact that he has forgotten everything about his attempt to imprison Asher for life suggests to me that his is the untroubled sleep known only to the most innocent of children, and the most incurable of sociopaths.

In late 2005, Asher was called to jury duty for the narcotics trial of William Edward Clark, a young man of Indian ancestry who lived in a northern Idaho village called White Bird. Clark was employed at a local restaurant. He also had a police record replete with petty charges of the kind that suggested he was the focus of frequent and largely unwarranted police attention. 

One afternoon the previous March, Clark was given the keys to the company vehicle – an old pickup truck – and sent to Grangeville with a large load of aluminum cans to be recycled. He stopped at the Tolo Lake Mammoth Replica, locked the truck, and went to see the exhibit. A Grangeville City Police Officer drove by and spotted the truck. 

At the time, Clark was the subject of a “fugitive warrant,” but the available record in the Idaho Repository doesn’t clearly state why. He was sentenced to probation on a misdemeanor battery charge, and then slapped with a statewide “failure to appear” bench warrant that appears to have been revoked in January. In any case, the officer recognized either Clark or the vehicle he was driving, executed a U-turn, and pulled in behind the truck.

When the officer approached Clark, he demanded the keys in order to search the truck. Clark quite properly refused to turn over the keys, pointing out that the pickup was, in effect, a company vehicle that didn’t belong to him. The officer called for backup, and an Idaho County Sheriff’s Deputy soon arrived. The two of them ganged up on Clark, seized the keys, and searched the truck.
On the dashboard of the truck the officers found a CD case containing a tiny ziplock bag in which was hidden .15 of a gram of meth, which had an estimated street value of about five dollars. 

“No physical evidence or eyewitness testimony connected Clark to the drugs,” Asher recalls of Clark’s two-day trial. “The prosecution wasn’t able to demonstrate that Clark was aware that it was in the vehicle. Since it was used by many other people, and the drugs were very carefully hidden, there was plenty of room for reasonable doubt. And since the search was clearly illegal, there wasn’t really any reason for the arrest in the first place. But the court-appointed defense attorney just sat there like a stump and didn’t raise the issue, and the trial judge wouldn’t allow jurors to raise it, either.”

In his smug assurance that the case was a slam-dunk, the Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk MacGregor didn’t bother to prove it. After all, Clark was a socially marginal Indian kid with a bad reputation and a growing rap sheet; his accusers were two valiant defenders of the public weal; and besides, this was a drug case, which means that the defendant simply must be guilty of something. 

What MacGregor didn’t realize is that there was at least one member of the jury who intended to force the state to prove its case against the defendant.
Prior to the trial, Judge John Bradbury had informed the jurors that they would be able to submit questions directly to him.

“Each of us was given a notepad on which to write our questions, and several of them were given to Judge Bradbury,” Asher relates. “All of them were read by the judge verbatim – except for the two I submitted, which he paraphrased and then dismissed.”

During the testimony of the two police officers involved in the arrest, Asher asked the same question: “In your understanding of the law, Officer, was it lawful and proper to force a search of the defendant’s pickup without first obtaining a warrant?” 
The coprophagous grin of a lazy judge: Bradbury.

“The first time I posed that question, rather than reading it aloud Bradbury simply said that a juror had asked about the legality of the search and he said that at some point prior to the trial it had been `agreed’ that the search was legal,” Asher recalls. “The second time he said something to the effect of, `There’s a juror here who is still having trouble regarding the legality of the search. That matter is decided and must be left aside.’”

When the jury began its deliberations, Asher was amazed – and somewhat disgusted – by the eagerness displayed by the other jurors to offer an uncritical ratification of the prosecution’s case. 

“I listened to various initial comments from at least half of the jurors,” she summarized in an affidavit filed prior to her own trial in 2006. “Rather than focusing on real evidence presented against him (or the lack of it), the young man was being criticized for everything from his casual dress to `looking cocky’ to his (supposed) cocky eye contact and confident smiles he frequently directed to members of the jury.”

When it was Asher’s turn to speak, she expressed “concern about what seemed to me a wrongful search on the part of the police. The jury foreman then reminded me that the judge had ruled out the matter of the search, and that we were not allowed to consider it.”

Displaying the dutiful docility so commonplace among collectivist drones, the foreman insisted that the proper role of the jury was to act as an instrument of state power, rather than an impediment to it. Asher tried to remind her fellow jurors that their duty was to follow the law, rather than ratify the prosecution’s case.

“I can’t take my orders merely from a judge, but am bound by a higher authority to render fair and just judgment according to the dictates of my own conscience in trying to protect the rights of the accused,” Asher explained.
“Well, then, it looks like you could be facing big trouble here,” sneered the foreman. “You just could be charged with perjury.”

After taking comments from the other jurors, the foreman called for a vote. Eight members of the panel voted guilty; Asher and three others voted to acquit. The hung jury resulted in a mistrial. 

As soon as court was adjourned, the foreman – in violation of the confidentiality of jury deliberations – did his duty to the State by reporting Asher’s comments to MacGregor. The vindictive functionary immediately contacted Wasden and demanded that the State of Idaho file a felony perjury charge against Asher. This was clearly an act of petty retaliation. It was also an actionable instance of malicious prosecution for which neither MacGregor nor Wasden has ever been held accountable. 

There is no legal basis in the State of Idaho for the prosecution of a juror who ignores a judge’s instructions regarding the law. Although the Idaho Code dictates that the court will “decide all questions of law which may arise in the course of the trial,” it also states that the judge “can give no charge to the jury” – in other words, he cannot bind them to his interpretation of the law. 

Idaho’s official Guide for Jury Deliberations repeatedly and explicitly state that once the jury begins its deliberations, it has plenary authority to decide the case as it sees fit. The purpose of a judge’s instructions, according to the guide, is to “tell you if there are special rules or a set process you should follow. Otherwise, you are free to conduct your deliberations in whatever way is helpful.”

Some measure of the poverty of the state’s case against Asher can be seen in the haste with which it was dismissed by Magistrate Judge Michael Griffin following a March 7, 2006 evidentiary hearing.

“I’m pretty sure that the charge was dismissed so quickly because they wanted the issue of fully-informed jurors to go away,” Asher observes. “The courtroom was full the day of the evidentiary hearing, and I’ve been told that the court had received hundreds of phone calls from people who were really upset over what was being done to me. It seems clear that the people behind the prosecution simply wanted the matter to disappear and be forgotten.” 

Carol Asher was neither the first nor the only woman face a “perjury” charge for thwarting the punitive impulses of an ambitious prosecutor. Sitting next to her in the Grangeville courtroom on March 7, 2006 was Colorado attorney Paul Grant, who had represented Laura Kriho, another woman who had been maliciously prosecuted for exercising her authority as a fully informed juror in the 1996 narcotics trial of a 19-year-old girl charged with possession of methamphetamine. 

Along with other potential jurors, Kirho was asked by the judge if there was “anything” in her past that “would interfere with your sitting as a fair and impartial juror.” She didn’t disclose that as a teenager she had received a deferred sentence on a minor drug charge, which was subsequently dismissed (but not removed from the record – nothing ever is). She also supported both drug de-criminalization and jury nullification. 

During jury deliberations, Kriho annoyed the other panelists by casting doubt on the reliability of the chief prosecution witness – the arresting officer in the case. She also pointed out that the likely sentence seemed wildly disproportionate to the offense. One juror sent a note to District Judge Kenneth Barnhill demanding that Kriho be dismissed. This led to a mistrial – after which a juror contacted the judge to accuse Kriho of conspiring to hang the jury by not disclosing her beliefs. 

Initially charged with felony perjury, Kriho was acquitted of that offense but found guilty of “contempt” and fined $1,200 by Gilpin County Judge Henry Nieto. 

As Paul Grant pointed out, Kriho was the first American to be convicted of “the newly minted crime of failure to volunteer information during jury selection. No longer is it enough to honestly answer the questions you are asked; now you also have to answer the questions you were not asked, but that you `knew’ the judge wanted answered.”

This was the supposed crime for which Larry Wasden wanted to imprison Carol Asher – and the struggle to beat back that spurious prosecution cost her thousands of dollars she didn’t have. 

 “At the time, I was 66 years old, and although I’ve tried to take care of myself a 14-year sentence would probably have meant that I would have died in prison,” Asher pointed out to me.

This isn’t to say that Wasden is incapable of exercising discretion, and modulating his zeal for justice, as he pretends to understand it, on behalf of first-time offenders. About a year after he tried to arrange for Asher to finish her mortal days in prison, Wasden approved a ridiculously lenient sentence for Kevin Buttars, a former Montpelier, Idaho Police Officer who beat, choked, and sexually assaulted a man named Jared Finley. 

Given that he was armed and committed his crime with the aid of several armed colleagues, his act qualified as aggravated battery under Idaho law, for which the prescribed penalty is up to fifteen years in prison. (By itself, the chokehold he inflicted on Finley constitutes “attempted strangulation,” which is also punishable by a term of fifteen years.) 

At the very least, Buttars was guilty of “unnecessary assault by a police officer,” which for some reason is considered a misdemeanor in Idaho. The specified punishment for that crime is a year in jail and a $5000 fine. This is a lighter punishment than the typical Idaho resident would receive for driving with a suspended license. 

Wasden signed off on a plea deal under which Buttars served two weeks in jail, paid a $500 fine and court costs, and spent a year on probation – time he put to productive use by filing a “wrongful termination” lawsuit against the City of Montpelier.

Lawrence Wasden is the kind of person who would be expansively accommodating toward a violent degenerate in a government-issued costume, while seeking to imprison an elderly woman for the supposed crime of being a conscientious juror. He splendidly embodies one of my oft-repeated maxims: People who don’t despise prosecutors simply aren’t paying attention. 

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Dum spiro, pugno!