The Web site of Orange County’s Republican Party, Red County, put up a hit piece written by Thomas Anthony Gordon, replete with bad grammar and worse logic. He’s attacking Fullerton Councilman (and former Mayor) Shawn Nelson, who is running for O.C. supervisor. Nelson’s “offense”: he’s a partner at a firm with a criminal defense department.
Gordon writes (my corrections in brackets): “A State Legislature[,] which has made California one of the most business unfriendly states in the Nation, has taken it upon themselves [he means ‘itself’] to reduce spending by releasing criminals back into our communities. Some theorize that this is to instill fear into taxpayers and have them sign off on tax increases to feed the bloated beast.”
Well, one big reason spending is so high is that the prison guards’ union is so cozy with Red County candidates (Republicans), as well as Blue County candidates (Democrats), producing tax-devouring high salaries and benefits for the guards. How about privatizing prisons to cut costs?
Gordon’s next sentence: “Another reason would be the attorneys, who usually start out on our city councils, move on to elected county offices, then to state assembly and senate seats[,] while telling us all they are the public safety candidate[s].”
The syntax is twisted like a pretzel. But I think he’s trying to say that attorneys like to let criminals run loose; the attorneys get elected to political offices; and from those positions the attorneys start loosing dangerous criminals on the public.
A couple of paragraphs later, Gordon fake concedes, “Now, I understand that even murderers, drug dealers, cybersquatters and NAMBLA promoters are entitled to legal representation. But we don’t have to like it.”
Gordon mixes up a lot here, trying to tar Shawn with warehouse of smear, especially murderers and the disgusting NAMBLA criminals.
But by “drug dealers,” does he mean, say, your local medical marijuana dispensary that gives your grandma the medicine she needs to keep her food down while she’s battling cancer? Although Prop. 215 legalized medical marijuana in state law, federal law still holds it illegal.
Gordon’s direct attack on Nelson: “Shawn Nelson is running to replace Chris Norby on the OC Board of Supervisors. He’s [the possessive is unclear, but he means Nelson] a guy who[m] I consider[ed] to be a strong anti[-]tax and anti[-]crime kind of guy. Until today.
“I was looking at the website for Rizio and Nelson when I came upon this nugget: [‘]this law (early release) will create new challenges for criminal defense lawyers, who will surely paint their clients’ cases in the most positive light possible. For that, you need experienced attorneys who can give you the strongest defense possible. Contact Rizio and Nelson if you need help[’].”
Gordon didn’t consistently bold-face the quoted part, so I put the whole thing in quotes (my single quotes).
Of course, if you read the offending sentence, all it says is: The law is more complicated now. We’re experienced attorneys. We can help you.
But Gordon ends: “And in my opinion, it’s impossible to say your [he means ‘you’re’] tough on crime, while doing everything you can get them [he seems to mean criminals] back onto our streets, to terrorize us another day. But that’s only my opinion.”
In other words: Guilty until proven guilty! The police and prosecutors are always right!
Remember Mike Carona?
But Orange County is the last place where we should give blind faith to police and prosecutors and cast aspersions on the attorneys who defend our liberties.
I suppose it’s understandable that Gordon didn’t mention former Sheriff Mike Carona, given the latter’s deep ties to Red County honchos, who repeatedly endorsed Carona and kept defending him. But just a year ago, a federal jury convicted Carona of witness tampering.
(By the way, Mr. Gordon, was it wrong for Carona to hire a top defense attorney, Brian Sun, to lead his legal team?)
Under Carona’s corrupt watch, in 2006 an inmate was killed at Theo Lacy jail. According this story from April 8, 2008: “A grand jury transcript released Monday describes an Orange County jail in disarray, with deputies watching television, playing video games and taking naps while inmates were allowed to use brutality and intimidation to keep order in the cellblocks.”
Before Carona, Sheriff Brad Gates was notorious for cronyism, especially giving conceal-carry gun permits to his donors (and almost nobody else) while keeping secret files on opponents. He held the job for an incredible 24 years, twice as long as FDR was president.
A 1987 report noted: “Despite a sworn declaration by Orange County Sheriff Brad Gates that he ‘has not created or maintained files’ on former election opponent George Wright, audiotapes of a 1981 college classroom lecture by Wright ended up in the sheriff’s investigative files, it was learned Thursday.”
The current sheriff, Sandra Hutchens, is obsessed with keeping guns out of the hands of honest citizens by denying them conceal-carry permits – even though studies by scholar John Lott and others prove that crime drops when honest citizens are better armed and can fend off criminals. And then there’s the Second Amendment right “to keep and bear arms,” which her policies violate.
Moreover, as Steven Greenhut details in his recent book, “Plunder! How Public Employee Unions are Raiding Treasuries, Controlling Our Lives and Bankrupting the Naiton,” state law now seals the records on any investigation into police abuse. The law was enacted a decade ago by a Democratic governor, Gray Davis, and a Democratic state Legislature that deftly stole the “law and order” issue from Republicans.
Red Staters like Gordon don’t realize that the future of the GOP (if it has one) doesn’t lie with government unions – including police and fire unions – but with Tea Party Patriots, Ron Paul Revolution activists and others sick and tired of governments ordering this once-free people around.
With lawless lawmen – and lawwomen – the need for defense attorneys is clear. If the government falsely accuses you of a crime – and uses its immense powers and tax dollars to prosecute you – who you gonna call? A defense attorney.
Patriot John Adams for the Defense
In our American system, let’s remember, an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. And that person can only be convicted after a trial in front of a jury of his peers. One of the charges our forefathers leveled against George III, in the Declaration of Independence, was: “For depriving us in many cases, of the benefit of Trial by Jury.”
Indeed, one of our greatest revolutionary Founders was John Adams. Like the others, he risked his neck to bring America liberty. Yet he first came to popular attention after the Boston Massacre of 1770, in which British imperial soldiers killed five Americans, an outrage that helped spark the revolution Adams would end up advancing. But Adams believed in justice, including the right of any person to a decent criminal defense. So he defended the British soldiers. Six were acquitted, two were found guilty of manslaughter.
During the trial, Adams actually was elected to Massachusetts’ colonial legislature. His fellow Americans recognized his bravery and integrity. There was no Thomas Anthony Gordon to write: “And in my opinion, it’s impossible to say your tough on crime, while doing everything you can get them back onto our streets, to terrorize us another day. But that’s only my opinion.”
If Adams had been shunned, his political career ended, he never would have become a hero during the Revolution, helping Washington, Jefferson, Franklin and the other patriots win our independence. Without defense attorney John Adams, their cause might have been lost, the whole lot of patriots hanged by “law ’n order” King George III. Lost also would have been our independence and our liberties.
Shawn Nelson, I submit, is a John Adams for our day.
John Seiler, an editorial writer with The Orange County Register for 19 years, currently is a reporter and analyst for CalWatchDog.com. His email: [email protected].