South Carolina Prosecutors Think They Should Be Above the Law
I spend a lot of time railing against abuses of the federal government, and for good reason given its size and disposition, but state and local officials are by and large just as awful. And South Carolina is doing its best to make sure we don’t forget it.
Radley Balko reports on a brewing conflict between South Carolina prosecutors and one of the state’s Supreme Court justices. Justice Donald Beatty, it seems, has upset a number of prosecutors who are demanding that he recuse himself from future criminal cases. The cause of their uproar? Beatty apparently deigned to remind them that they are not, in fact, above the law:
At a state solicitors’ convention in Myrtle Beach, Beatty cautioned that prosecutors in the state have been “getting away with too much for too long.” He added, “The court will no longer overlook unethical conduct, such as witness tampering, selective and retaliatory prosecutions, perjury and suppression of evidence. You better follow the rules or we are coming after you and will make an example. The pendulum has been swinging in the wrong direction for too long and now it’s going in the other direction. Your bar licenses will be in jeopardy. We will take your license.”
Any prosecutor who objects to the above should be presumed unfit to hold office and immediately fired. It won’t happen, of course, because the institutional corruption runs too deep. The fact that so many within our criminal justice system – who exercise tremendous power over the public – believe that they should remain above legal accountability is deeply troubling.