Thursday, July 28, 2011

No good deed goes unpunished: the saga of Ken Buck

Last November, Ken Buck, a prosecutor who ran for a U.S. Senate seat in Colorado, was narrowly defeated. As a Tea Party and Republican candidate, he already was the target of the media, and when it was publicized that he refused to prosecute a particular alleged rape case, you can imagine what the media reaction became.

Mother Jones, the hard-left publication, all-but-declared this refusal was "proof" that Buck was a misogynist. Declared the magazine:
On the campaign trail, Buck has called this a nonstory. But between this, his controversial "high heels" attack ad against a female primary challenger, and his view that abortion should be illegal, even in cases of rape and incest, Buck's been beset by charges of sexism in his race with incumbent Sen. Michael Bennet (D). The victim says that's at the heart of Buck's non-prosecution of her alleged attacker. "It reflects his stereotypes," she says. "It shows that he's unable to [fulfill] his professional duties without taking his personal biases and stereotypes into consideration."
Other publication, from Salon to the Huffington Post to The Atlantic also followed suit with similar accusation, and the hard-left blogs had a field day. HERE IS A GUY WHO SUPPORTS RAPE!! As these same media outlets spewed forth their rhetoric in the infamous Duke Lacrosse Case, so they gave the open-and-shut opinion which one has come to expect.

Libertarian writer James Bovard once told me that in politics, no one cares about the truth, and I will say that political journalism falls into that category. None of the writers whom I contacted on this story really cared whether or not what they were saying was true. In fact, to all of them, it was true by definition. To put it another way, the facts did not matter because political ideology always trumps the truth, as it is politics and the media that determine truth, anyway.

The syllogism went like this:
  • Ken Buck is running as a conservative Republican
  • All conservative Republicans are misogynists who support rape
  • Therefore, Ken Buck did not pursue a "slam dunk" rape case because of political ideology.
There are two things, however, that would negate this syllogism as well as the tone of the "news" coverage. First, one would have to assume, from reading these journalists and law professors, that Buck's office in Weld County never, ever prosecuted rape cases, or was ideologically reluctant to do so. Yet, there is nothing in the record to show that Weld County prosecutors refused to prosecute rape cases.

The second thing is even more telling and more important, and was unknown to the media: a key investigator in this case, someone who is not associated with the Tea Party or conservative politics and who has helped put many rapists behind bars, strongly believed these accusations to be false. This person's input into the case was not irrelevant, and in my personal dealings with the person, I find nothing but credibility and lots of it.

In other words, Buck took advice from someone who understood the situation much better than did any of the media people or law professors who were using this case to push their own partisan political agendas. The difference is that the particular adviser was looking at the facts, while the others did not care, as facts never do seem to matter to political ideologues.

There is another matter I believe that the media conveniently left out: Ken Buck played an important role in seeking justice after the railroading and wrongful conviction of Tim Masters. (Masters was convicted of the murder of Peggy Hettrick after Fort Collins Det. Jim Broderick lied during the investigation and then lied in court. The two prosecutors, Jolene Blair and Terry Gilmore, later became judges and were voted out of office after Masters' verdict was overturned and he was freed.)

It was Buck who secured the indictment against Broderick, and it is very, very rare that a prosecutor will go after a police officer for lying. Face it, most prosecutors are quite happy to have police lie if the lies can help them secure convictions. My previous post about Lee's Summit, Missouri, is more typical in American "justice." (Unfortunately, Broderick never will come to justice, as a judge has dismissed the charges, claiming that the statute of limitations already had passed.)

Because rape has become a political crime in an overly-politicized society, Ken Buck was punished for not pursuing a case that would have been questionable at best. At the same time, the same media that decided there could be no other reason than misogyny failed to look at anything else in his record to point out that at least he was a prosecutor who believed that those people who often are untouchable also needed to be brought to justice.

As I see it, people like Ken Buck are a rarity in our system, as most prosecutors really don't care if the person on trial actually committed a crime. We also see time and again outfits like Mother Jones and the New York Times feature people who have been wrongly convicted. However, when it comes down to it, these same people really don't care about guilt or innocence at all. They care for nothing but partisan politics and demand that everyone shape their reality according to their worldviews. If innocence fits their political agenda, then it is important, and if false accusations, like those in the Duke case, fit their agenda, then they promote false allegations. And those that fail to bow down will be vilified, and so it was here.

1 comment:

Doc Ellis said...

Greetings Dr Anderson

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Thank you for writing this essay

Doc Ellis 124