Thursday, March 24, 2011
WHO PAYS THE PIPER CALLS THE TUNE
Last week in Philadelphia, Judge Renee Cardwell Hughes lashed out at a financial arrangement between a criminal defendant and his employer, concerning the payment of his legal bills.
Such an arrangement, she said, would give the defendant a disincentive to speak against his employer.
In the case of Rev. James Brennan, a Catholic priest accused of rape, the Philadelphia Archdiocese agreed to pay his bills only if he were acquitted. This, Hughes said, would dissuade Brennan from implicating the Archdiocese, even if doing so were in his own best interest (or in the interest of justice in general).
We wonder if it ever occurred to any other judges in Pennsylvania that people are disinclined to implicate the people paying their legal bills?
For example, virtually every single witness who testified to the "Bonusgate" grand jury in 2007 and 2008 was represented by a lawyer who was paid and assigned by the House Democratic Caucus.
"Who the hell is the caucus?" grand jury Judge Barry Feudale famously wrote in his commentary on 28th Statewide Investigating Grand Jury Report Number One.
The caucus, in 2007 and 2008, (and all the way back to 1990) was H. William DeWeese.
As the leader, as no one seems to comprehend, DeWeese was the only person with the authority to disburse caucus funds. For bonus payments or for legal fees. Responsibility rested with DeWeese. Decisions were made by DeWeese.
In other words, Gubernatorial Candidate Tom Corbett in 2007 set out to investigate a caucus that had been led for the better part of two decades by DeWeese, with witnesses counseled by lawyers chosen, assigned and paid by DeWeese.
At least one Pennsylvania judge seems to understand the conflict of interest that might create.