(Judges) Jones and Clement quickly seized on the government’s claim that there was no evidence that the online commentary filtered into the jury room, or that, as the officers’ lawyers claim, it helped prod guilty pleas and suspect testimony from other officers.Point of clarification (again.) None of the controversial comments that have reopened this can of worms would have involved anyone "following blogs." Instead they all happened in the comments section of a newspaper's website. No idea why a federal judge doesn't get this.
While acknowledging the online misconduct, Collery argued that Engelhardt should have stopped short of a new trial for the five officers, instead leveling sanctions or formal complaints against prosecutors.
“Alternative remedies are meaningless in this case,” Clement retorted. “Thank God there are no other cases like this in the country.”
Jones, who herself was the subject of a formal investigation but cleared of misconduct for allegedly racist comments she made during a speech, dismissed the idea that the officers accused in the Danziger case wouldn’t have been influenced by the anonymous online catcalls and crowd-baiting by the feds.
“You don’t think people who knew they were going to be indicted or potential witnesses at trial were following blogs?” the judge chided. “Those of us who have been the target of unfair investigations know one gets a supernatural interest” in the chatter.
Either way the idea that the commenting has any real bearing on these verdicts remains dubious. This is really more about justice department politics than anything else. What a shame that is.
Anywhoo.. thanks to the chatty prosecutors, I guess we're going through this mess again. It's a great year to go and re-open a high profile police brutality case, right?