Sunday, April 8, 2007

Wisconsin Sees Its Reflection In The Georgia Thompson Case: Guest Post

My longtime friend and former Madison Mayoral staff colleague Phil Ball offers a commentary on the implications of the Georgia Thompson case:

What galls is the injustice of it. Take a close look.

The process itself led to the near-destruction of Georgia Thompson. She was a victim of supposedly seamless legal procedures and safeguards, the pride of American jurisprudence - - and also victimized by a falsified political debate and failed free press.

True, the US Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago, a part of the system, made short shrift of all the nonsense that came before it, ordering Thompson freed with a single majestic assertion of street clarity; 'Bullshit!'

But here in Wisconsin, all the instruments agreed that she was guilty, beginning with 'independent' federal prosecutors, citizen grand juries, free and objective media, open trial before a jury of peers, public debate of the facts - - all of it overseen by a competent judiciary and duly reported and commented on a near daily basis.

The result; an honorable, innocent life nearly destroyed.

Compounding this travesty was the follow-on.

From the Governor on down, public figures and the usual opportunists condemned graft and corruption in general and Georgia Thompson in particular by name and by implication. Liberal and conservative, Democrat and Republican - - it made no difference, before or after the fact of conviction: Georgia Thompson was stoned in the stocks on the public square.

How could this happen?

With formal safeguards exhausted or complicit in the crime, all that remained between Georgia Thompson and gross injustice was the hope for the voice of a righteous individual saying, "No. This is wrong. The judge, jury, prosecutors, grand jurors, newspapers, they are all wrong. The people are wrong."

But public leaders who knew better nonetheless censored themselves, at best. At worst, they joined the pack of jackals that perpetrated this shameful act in condemning Georgia Thompson.

Was the prosecution of Georgia Thompson orchestrated by Republicans as part of the Bush strategy nationally to politicize the whole system of federal prosecutors, and in Wisconsin, to embarrass Democrats and Gov. Jim Doyle in particular?

Could this have happened if Doyle and others who clearly knew that this was a sham prosecution had stood up at the start and said, "This is political abuse of an innocent public servant and I won't allow it. I will fight for Georgia Thompson's rights."?

I like Jim Doyle. Always have. But there are times when he is cautious to a flaw. In this instance, it cost Georgia Thompson dearly.

For the rest of us who stood by and watched - - well, it doesn't make you proud to be a Badger, does it?


Anonymous said...

Another Layer of Scandal

Anonymous said...

Was Probe Done To Tarnish Doyle?

Some Democrats Question The Motives Behind The Prosecution Of Georgia Thompson

Anonymous said...

There’s something rotten in Wisconsin