Andrew McCullough's Blog

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Polygamist leader guilty

September 25, 2007 -- Today Warren Jeffs, the leader of a polygamous offshoot of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon) was found guilty of "rape as an accomplice" for allegedly forcing a 14 year old girl to marry her cousin (age 19), resulting in sex. Upon hearing of the verdict, the present Utah Attorney General was quoted by KSL radio and TV as saying:

"This verdict is a victory for the many victims who have been hurt by Warren Jeffs and have been too afraid to speak out. Everyone should now know that no one is above the law, religion is not an excuse for abuse and every victim has a right to be heard. Let this verdict be a warning to anyone else who believes that forcing young girls to marry older men is acceptable and without consequence. The State of Utah will continue to be vigilant in pursuing anyone who breaks the law, no matter where they live or what they believe. Today's verdict is just the beginning of a long journey to seek justice for all."

Certainly that statement makes it clear that this prosecution was not about a single victim of "rape"; but is part of a concerted effort to destroy a culture which has been part of Utah since the days when the "mainstream" LDS Church also approved of the practice of polygamy. I want to make it clear that I do not condone child abuse; and this may well have been a case of that. What it was NOT, was rape, as that term is commonly understood. I was surprised by the verdict; and I will be more surprised if it stands up under appeal. If there is child abuse going on, it can be fought without resorting to ridiculous "legal fictions" such as the one bought today by the jury. Crimes should not be tolerated; but reasonable prosecutions will be sufficient to eliminate them. And, in the end, the State, which has tolerated polygamy for over 100 years, needs to back off its current morality crusade, lest it sweep up a few more Republican office holders.

It is time for new Attorney General who will not use his power to destroy those who believe differently than he does. See my website to find out more about me and my little campaign to make this change.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Attorney General

September 13, 2007 -- The day the U.S. Attorney General announced his pending resignation, I thought that was big news; and I intended to write some thoughts on it here. Then the even bigger news hit about the Senator from Idaho, and I lost my focus. Since then, I have been tremendously busy with my law practise; but I am going to take a few minutes here to discuss the outgoing Attorney General.

Mr. Gonzales, of course, is a long time friend of the President, and a personal legal advisor. Even as he was nominated Attorney General, there was much concern expressed over reports that he had written a legal opinion condoning torture of prisoners in our "war on terror". He was, of course, supporting the President's expressed desire to do "whatever necessary" to defeat those we are fighting. As Attorney General, he faced several criticisms. The biggest news is that he fired several U.S. Attorneys on political grounds. The job of U.S. Attorney of a Federal District (a portion of a state corresponding to a U.S. District Court) IS a political appointment. Here in Utah, the appointment of a new U.S. Attorney a year or so ago was clearly orchestrated by Senator Hatch, who had a friend who wanted the job. But the allegations against Gonzales were that he fired at least one U.S. Attorney simply because an influental Senator was angry because the guy wasn't going to prosecute an important Democrat for corruption charges in time to influence the 2006 election. If he did that, shame on him; but he most certainly took his orders from the White House; and shame on them too! Tthe most disquieting part of this was that, when questioned about the firings by members of Congress, he could not remember ANYTHING! His repeated refrain of "I don't recall" makes one wonder if he has the intellectual ability to be an attorney, let alone the Attorney General.

Under President Bush, everything is supremely political; and that erodes the rule of law. This Attorney General has done what he is told; and he has led the Justice Department downhill. I would like to think the next Attorney General will be an improvement; but that would take an effort by President Bush to find someone who can do the job right. I don't think that is one of the criteria our President uses in making his appointments. And many thanks to Harry Reid for announcing that an overtly political choice will not be confirmed by the Senate.
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