It's been a long time since I posted to this blog. In the interim, my son has joined the Marines and is at boot camp in Paris Island. My daughter is still "E the Intern" at the Saddleback Church in Orange County, CA. My office has finished its move to one floor above our original space.
The ethics issues of the day are as much political as they are ethical. First, is the issue about how the DOJ goes about detaining and trying the prisoners at Guantanamo Bay. We are told that very few of these approximately 285 detainees are actually charged with anything, but many have been in captivity since 2002. Those that are actually charged and to be tried for any offenses have military lawyers appointed to represent them. Two of these military lawyers appointed to defend detainees spoke at the Mid-Year Meeting of the Association for Professional Responsibility Lawyers in February at Miami Beach. They do not have access to the same information the Government has and uses against their client. In fact, the defense lawyers do not have the requisite security clearance to have access to the so-called evidence the Government uses to prosecute their client. The information could be based on second or third-hand hearsay, but there is no way for the defense lawyer to challenge its reliability.
Does this sound like a fair due process hearing? The Bush Administration and the DOJ take the position that the Gitmo detainees are not entitled to the constitutional protections afforded U.S. citizens that are arrested and charged with a crime. The weird irony is that these detainees, most of whom have not been accused of anything, are being held in isolation indefinitely, while persons who have been charged with a crime have more protections even though there is at least probable cause and therefore some evidence that they committted an offense. I am not saying that persons accused of a criminal offense should not have these rights. I am merely saying that persons who are being detained indefinitely without charges pending ought to have some procedural rights.
The second hot issue of the day is the Bush Administration's firing of some 93 United States Attorneys for "underperformance" issues--whatever that means. The extent to which Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and Karl Rove participated in the decisionmaking is unclear at this time. On Tuesday, March 20, the White House is expected to announce whether it will let former White House counsel Harriet Miers, political strategist Karl Rove and other presidential advisers testify before Congress — and whether it will release more documents to lawmakers, including additional e-mails and other items. That decision was to be made on Friday, but the White House asked for more time. The jury is still out on this one, but it will be interested in finding out what truly motivated the dismissals of these prosecutors. Legally, the United States Attorneys serve at the will of the President who holds the power to remove them from office.