Friday, June 02, 2006

Blanchard's Violence Against Common Sense

Both fans of this site probably know that I tend to pack it in on Fridays and not post until the next week. But when I saw a quote from Dane County District Attorney Brian Blanchard in Wispolitics.com, I was moved to immediate action. Read this as if I was yelling it, or at least typing really loud.

Blanchard has filed a brief with the Dane County Circuit Court to have convicted former Speaker of the Assembly Scott Jensen held in custody pending appeal of his conviction of campaigning with state resources. The Wispolitics account includes this passage:


Blanchard also attempts to shoot down the claim that Jensen is entitled to the release because he was not convicted of a violent crime. He admits while the multiple counts of misconduct in public office don't constitute personal violence, "(Jensen) did do violence to the trust necessary to a democratic system of government." And Jensen's attitude toward his offense makes him likely to recommit, Blanchard argues.
Recommit? He’s not in the Legislature anymore – where exactly is he going to recommit? As speaker of his daughter’s playgroup?

The more interesting portion of the filing deals with the idea of “violence.” Blanchard apparently isn’t embarrassed to make the case that Jensen did “violence” to democracy, and therefore serves as a threat to society.

Liberals like Blanchard constantly make the case that we shouldn’t have nonviolent criminals in jail. Yet somehow, we have a nonviolent criminal who is the former Republican Speaker of the Assembly, and he deserves to be behind bars? And to reconcile this obvious inconsistency, Blanchard makes an absolutely absurd attempt to define Jensen as “violent.”

And if this is an attempt to “send a message” to other legislators about the gravity of the crime, isn’t Blanchard now making a conservative argument? Isn’t this the point that right wingers have been making - that despite some offenders being “nonviolent,” that jail time can serve as a deterrent? Don’t drug dealers and check forgers “do violence to the trust” of our society?

So Scott Jensen is more of a threat to our public safety than a drug dealer? Am I going to have to lock my doors tonight because Scott Jensen might be outside my house threatening to print some campaign literature with state money?

One of Blanchard's other arguments is that Jensen should be detained because it is unlikely he will win his appeal. Like Blanchard is going to go before the court and say "Judge, I did a really crappy job of prosecuting this case, and the evidence I presented was full of holes." Of course he's going to say Jensen is unlikely to win his appeal, because to do otherwise would be to impugn the veracity of his own prosecution. Is this even really a valid argument?

The only more ridiculous statement I remember a public official making this year was the crazy Madison alderwoman that supports banning chewing tobacco because it might get on someone’s infected foot. Of course, nobody will even question Blanchard’s rock solid reasoning on this, and the local paper will continue to hail him as a hero.