Sat
Feb 9 2008
08:20 am
By: WhitesCreek

While the legal rulings will be whatever they will be, I am uncomfortable with what I see as unnecessary maneuverings on the part of the prosecution in the Houston Brothers' trial. Whatever the ultimate resolution in the criminal aspects themselves, a great sadness will hang over Roane County, long after the fate of the Houstons is decided.

The injection of a private attorney into the prosecutorial side looks, to this observer, like a publicity stunt unworthy of the seriousness of the Houstons' situation.

Our County has gotten way too much publicity regarding it's Judicial process. If the prosecution has a case, no outside help should be required. If it doesn't...Bringing in a hired gun will only call into question the validity of any successful prosecution. The world will wonder if these Brothers are getting a fair trial.

To the outside world, the appearance of fair judicial process in Roane County gets more and more compromised the longer this goes on.

It is neither unprecedented nor particularly unusual nor unfair.

For this kind of special attorney to be hired.

Unnecessary maneuvering??

Funny how there NO amount of maneuvering on the depart of defense attorneys that seems to get characterized as unnecessary or excessive. How many lawyers have the Houstons been through? How many more will they go through before the case is adjudicated? There's no way to know. They have the right to almost unlimited maneuvering. This maneuvering is designed to enable the client (the defense) to get the arrangement of lawyers most favorable to the defense's case aligned and working to produce the desired result- an acquittal.

Precisely why in "heck" is the prosecution not entitled to the same? What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If the defense is entitled to maneuvering to find lawyers with the best expertise, the best special experience, the best whatever for their side of the case in an adversarial judicial system, why should the prosecution be denied the same leeway, pray tell? It's ludicrous for the prosecution to be limited when the defense is not. We have a legal system that is adversarial, and each side has the unbridled right to put on the best case it can to convince jurors and judges of the right of their side.

It happens all over, yes in Tennessee too, that government prosecutors hire special prosecutors who are not normally government attorneys to fit the needs of having the most competent prosecution possible. I personally have seen it happen in Roane County on a number of occasions as far back as the 60s under the late Judge Lloyd McCluen, and am certain it has happened in cases that I knew nothing about. The only difference is the high profile nature of the Houstons' case. But special prosecutors being hired is not some new stunt figured out in order to mess over the poor, pitiful Houston brothers. It goes on all over the country, including here in Tennessee, and it has gone on for a long, long time and is an accepted part of the legal landscape.

The wording of the writing in the RCN's referenced article is a bit slanted... it says that this attorney "seeks to prosecute" the Houstons as if he came up with the idea because of some implied dislike for them and he wanted to come over to Roane County to help whoop up on 'em. The rest of the article states, however, that which could be overshadowed by the implication of that wording, i.e. that the local prosecutor (DAG) hired the man to help them do a job because the DAG thought he was especially equipped to help make the most competent prosecution for this case. The fact that this attorney agreed with the DAG about the guilt of the Houstons means little. It is normal that a prosecuting attorney believes in the guilt of his defendant(s).

If a more competent case can be put on - by either side adding or changing attorneys - then the only thing that happens is that justice is more likely to be done. The more competently EITHER or BOTH sides of a case is tried, the more likely justice is the outcome.

RB

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