Friday, August 20, 2010

The Roger Clemens Indictment

[Update: Friday, August 20, 2010, 9:55 PM]: Just a reminder for all the readers to vote for Leah and Russell! (Yes, it is called "stuffing the ballot box," but since everyone else is stuffing the box, we might as well do it better!) [End Update]

Last year, Candice E. Jackson and I published "Putting Stars Behind Bars" in Reason Magazine in which we chronicled how federal authorities are targeting prominent athletes and finding clever ways to get them thrown into prison.

Today, it is Roger Clemens, one of the greatest pitchers of our time, and so far I have not read anything in the mainstream media questioning why this really was necessary. Yes, yes, he was indicted for perjury, allegedly lying to Congress. (Why, I ask are not members of Congress regularly indicted for lying to us?)

The New York Times breathlessly reports:
At that hearing, Clemens and his former trainer Brian McNamee contradicted each other about whether Clemens had used steroids and human growth hormone. Andy Pettitte, Clemens’s friend and a longtime teammate, provided a written statement under oath to Congressional investigators in which he said Clemens admitted to him in 1999 or 2000 that he had used H.G.H.

Days after the hearing, the Democratic and Republican leaders of the committee asked the Justice Department to open an investigation into Clemens’s testimony.

If convicted, Clemens could face up to 30 years in prison and a $1.5 million fine, but under current sentencing guidelines, a conviction would most likely bring a 15- to 21-month sentence. He would probably receive less prison time if he accepted a plea agreement.
OK, I have a question. Why is Congress dragging a professional athlete in front of one of its bloviating committees for an inquisition? These are the same people who have helped to destroy the U.S. economy, get us into wars that are intractable, and who constantly enrich themselves at the expense of those of us who don't share their privileges.

The last time I checked, Major League Baseball was a private organization, and if Roger Clemens actually too steroids at a time when MLB did not prohibit the practice, then he actually broke no rules. Nonetheless, like Barry Bonds, who was dragged in front of a federal grand jury, Congress decided to place Clemens in a "perjury trap" in which he was damned if he did and damned if he didn't.

Of course, what inquisition can be complete without a self-serving statement from a federal prosecutor. (As I have noted elsewhere, federal prosecutors are notorious for breaking the law, but not indicting themselves.) We hear the following from yet another self-righteous U.S. attorney:
"Our government cannot function if witnesses are not held accountable for false statements made before Congress,” said Ronald C. Machen Jr., the United States attorney for the District of Columbia. “Today the message is clear: if a witness makes a choice to ignore his or her obligation to testify honestly, there will be consequences."
Uh, I hate to tell him, but our government "does not function" at any level other than to hold everyone else to standards that no one in Washington seems to be able to meet. Nonetheless, we are forced to listen to this self-righteous drivel by someone who probably could not tell the truth in a court of law even if he wanted to do so.

(Don't forget, the Washington, D.C., office is that same office that gave us the massive misconduct in the trial of the late Sen. Ted Stevens. Notice that while federal prosecutors lied in that case, none of them faced even a second of mild sanctions. So much for the love of "honesty" among the ranks of the feds.)

Now, there is an even bigger target for the feds: Lance Armstrong. Here is a guy who never failed a drug test, but apparently the criminals running the U.S. Department of Injustice will not be happy until Armstrong is thrown into prison. In the meantime, federal prosecutors will suborn perjury, lie to judges and the general public and generally make a mockery of the law -- all in the name of "upholding the law."

Why are federal prosecutors so dishonest AND out of control? There is this thing called "immunity," which is the same reason that prosecutors in the Tonya Craft case also knew they could lie, suborn perjury, and fabricate "evidence," knowing that no matter how criminal their conduct, they would not face a single sanction. And this is what these people call "rule of law." I call it something else.


Lookout Spy said...

"Rule of Law". An interesting concept, worthy of study.

Here's what I found:

The ancient concept of "rule of law" is to be distinguished from "rule by law", according to political science professor Li Shuguang:

"The that under the rule of law the law is preeminent and can serve as a check against the abuse of power. Under rule by law, the law can serve as a mere tool for a government that suppresses in a legalistic fashion."

Food for thought, no? What a remarkable distinction there is between the two words, "of" or "by".

Roger Clemens a Federal offender? Gimme a break. I don't think anyone has even claimed he failed to pay his taxes on time.

KC Sprayberry said...

It seems the solution to the problem is to remove the absolute or any other type of immunity from all prosecutors and law enforcement personnel, to include those so called examiners, therapists, and anyone else associated with the prosecution. That solution will keep people from lying to avoid threats of prosecution for either minor or imaginary offenses. It might keep the lawyers from lying, but that might be impossible. Again, a solution to this whole problem is to throw out the whole prosecutor/defender system we currently live with. Put a business manager, a successful business manager, in charge of assigning cases. See, the lawyers might be a little more honest if they didn't know if they might be judging a case one month, prosecuting the next, and perhaps defending a few months down the road. Shake up the system. Keep these people off balance. And for crying out loud, take away their sense of privilege - what they've done to millions of ordinary citizens.

Oh, in the it's stranger than fiction and no editor will ever publish some of this stuff. Well, I guess one will. Got notified yesterday a romantic suspense novella I wrote is being included in an anthology later this year. The theme is about judicial and prosecutorial misconduct keeping soul mates apart - until the ending, of course. It is, above all things, a romance story.

Harriet said...

It's this same dishonesty that is taking place in the Rubashkin case!

Anonymous said...

I have attended many meetings with criminal defense attorneys who are advising my clients (I practice on the civil side only) regarding inquiries from federal investigators. The recurring theme is this: a) Do not talk; and b) if you do talk the single biggest risk you run is getting indicted for making a false statement rather than getting indicted for the underlying crime they are investigating. Barry Bonds is the classic example, now we have Clemens (and Blago). And look at how the indictment was supported. Not by Clemens own differing accounts but by pitting Clemens statement against what someone else (Andy Pettite) believed Clemens said 10 years ago. Hell, Pettite stands to gain from Clemens' downfall and Pettite is recalling something from a decade ago so it is more likely to be false or at least inaccurate, so why not indict Pettite? Never talk to the police, ever.

kbp said...

Congrats KC!

Hope it all works out well and leads to more good fortune!


We certainly have become a nation living under the "rule by law".

Unfortunately for us, when the "law" doesn't work well enough for those enforcing it, they've learned to now FABRICATE crimes they can apply the "rule" to!

kbp said...

In a case somewhat related - in the nature of wasting money to find or fabricate ANY crime - I've watched the news on the Blagojevich case, involving the US Attorney Fitzgerald.

While I think we'd be better off with both locked up, there may be some good news we can take from that case, along with most others Fitzgerald has been involved in.

He is a prime example of our governement / law enforcement / judicial systems in this nation having progressed into establishments that are feeding upon themselves!

The key ingredient necessary appears to be PUBLICITY, a factor Tonya suffered through in her case. Hopefully we'll see some HUNGRY prosecutor going after the LMJC team soon!

Trish said...

I have always wondered why on earth baseball players have to testify in front of congress. What business do they have dipping their noses in where they don't belong!! Let baseball take care of what players do or don't do. Good grief, our government needs to concentrate on keeping our nation safe and getting us out of debt!!

KC Sprayberry said...

Trish, like all politicians, Congress must have committees to study everything. I'd be surprised if they don't have a committee that studies ordinary people reacting to situations around them. Then these committees hold sessions and call certain individuals to testify in front of them. The upshot of those sessions upholds the old adage. It takes a liar to recognize a liar - or - Congress doesn't think anyone tells them the truth because they always lie.

J.W. said...

Although I do think that pro athletes need to be held accountable against the performance-enhancing drug ban, it still seems strange that Congress is the one dealing with it. It's not like they have other, more pressing matters to deal with that, such as unemployment, war, immigration, etc.

But I suppose that is besides the point, about the issue at hand. Clemens lied, he should be punished. As my mom used to always remind me with "oh what wicked webs we weave, when first we practice to deceive".

Anonymous said...

The drug HGH was not banned until 2005. The basis for the charge is that Petitte alleges that Clemens admitted to using HGH in 2000. So we have a prosecutor that indicts someone based on a ten year old recollection about something that was completely legal to do at the time. While I am all for the integrity of the legal system, this is ridiculous. For a system to have integrity to begin with, it needs to focus on ILLEGAL activity. Bootstrapping legal activity into a crime pulls the foundation out from our legal system. It reveals that the focus is on persecution of prior legal actions rather than punishment of actual crime.

Trish said...

I don't really care if he lied to congress or not, they should not stick their noses where they don't belong. No wonder we don't have any money in this country, because they waste it on stupid stuff like this!!! For that matter, wonder how many times a day, each congressman/woman tells a lie!!

liberranter said...

Bill, I know that you've read this already, but for the benefit of your readers who are not regular readers of, this article posted on that site this morning aptly describes our situation where the theme of your article is concerned.

justiceseeker51 said...

I've been voting and will continue...

William L. Anderson said...

Thanks for posting the link to the LRC piece. Indeed, this country really is losing it, criminalizing about everything.

kbp said...

Don't foget to Vote for Leah and Russell! every day!

kbp said...

Continuing my CAC Education

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve said...

Hey kbp @11:25:

Regarding the blog you posted, Continuing my CAC Education,

After reading this post, I immediately mowed my grass, (my wife has been pestering me to do this since April), put up my BBQ grill and took the rifle rack and carbine out of my F-150. However, I am shocked and appalled that the blogger did not include the information that only the truly guilty seek competent legal assistance when they are accused of abusing children. After all, they are GUILTY or they wouldn't be accused would they? Demanding a lawyer and asserting the right to remain silent is just another nail in their coffin or a reason to give them a longer sentence.

Just ask that hero Tim “Crooked” Deal, ace detective investigator in Catoosa County. He knows all about how only the guilty want a lawyer before spilling their guts to him. What a shining example of honesty and law enforcement skill he is!

With my tongue planted firmly in my cheek I remain,

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve

P.S.: Your comment was dead on. This blogger must have been laughing and crying as he or she wrote it as it is perilously close to the truth.

kbp said...

Throckmorton P. Gildersleeve,

Sore Toes folllowed what went on when the CPS and Texas Rangers raided the YFZ Ranch in Texas, taking 465+/- FLDS "children" (holding adult women, as old as 37, hostage as children!).

That is where many points made in the humorous/sorrowful tale originated from, though they do fit well in most CPS investigations.

kbp said...

Good News!

justiceseeker51 said...

Rash of Judges Stepping Down

Go to:

Under latest headlines

Toes said...

@Throckmorton, it's nice to know I'm cleaning up America, one lot at a time.

@kbp, thanks for linking to my post.

The FLDS case has such a huge "ugh" factor due to the age and religious beliefs of the people involved. Because of the instantaneous emotional reaction, defending the FLDS is a very unpopular idea.

@ anyone who cares about their privacy, freedom, and rights, please separate the emotions from the issues, and look again.

Anonymous said...

"Yes, yes, he was indicted for perjury, allegedly lying to Congress. (Why, I ask are not members of Congress regularly indicted for lying to us?)"

this is what i want to know. barney frank is far more of a crminial than roger clemens.

bpreston said...

It's too bad Clemens is getting jammed up for doing what many athletes do as a matter of course today. No one injects HGH anymore. Most use homeopathic hgh oral spray or take pills like genf20 to stimulate their own increase of HGH. Both are somewhat less effective than injections but work quite good enough and both are legal for over the counter purchases.