A final thought on the Clemens case

As you no doubt know by now, a federal jury in Washington, D.C. yesterday acquitted Roger Clemens on charges that he lied to Congress and obstructed a Congressional investigation into steroid use in Major League Baseball when he purportedly offered perjured testimony to a Congressional committee in 2007. We can set aside the question of whether Clemens in fact used steroids or HGH – most commentators seem to believe that he did, and I will happily stipulate to that fact. What I am wondering about today is whether the Department of Justice, having now suffered a humiliating defeat in the Clemens case, which was widely believed to be open and shut; having gotten at most half a loaf in the Barry Bonds case; and having been publicly embarrassed by proven misconduct in the Ted Stevens prosecution, is at all chastened, and whether prosecutors will in the future think twice before wasting tax dollars (money we don’t have right now, frankly) and federal law enforcement resources by pursuing trumped up charges of ridiculous “crimes” against the likes of athletes who supposedly lied about using performance enhancing drugs, or those who threaten the Republic by running an escort service.

Unfortunately, I am not encouraged. In a world in which white collar “criminals” receive sentences exponentially longer than bin Laden’s driver, where law enforcement bullies shut down kids’ lemonade stands for lack of a government issued permit, and where non-violent criminal defendants can spend years behind bars awaiting trial without even having been convicted, we can always count on the Leviathan to overreach and overreact. But for today, we can rejoice in the poke in the eye that the Clemens jury gave to the Justice Department yesterday.

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