Saturday, March 15, 2008

Give the Citizens of New York What They Want

Having never been elected to any political office before, Hillary Clinton asked the citizens of New York to elect her to fill the senate seat of the retiring Pat Moynihan. New Yorkers did just that. Many states would not have treated a carpetbagger so generously, but Empire Staters have every right to use their vote in the way they see fit.

Along with inexperienced senators representing them, New Yorkers have also clearly said that they want an aggressive approach to law and order. And for sometime now, Eliot Spitzer has been giving them just that. As New York State Attorney General, Mr. Spitzer had a reputation of vigilantly persuing crimes that included prostitution:
...Though his signature issue was pursuing Wall Street misdeeds, as attorney general Mr. Spitzer also had prosecuted at least two prostitution rings as head of the state’s organized crime task force.

In one such case in 2004, Mr. Spitzer spoke with revulsion and anger after announcing the arrest of 16 people for operating a high-end prostitution ring out of Staten Island.

“This was a sophisticated and lucrative operation with a multitiered management structure,” Mr. Spitzer said at the time. “It was, however, nothing more than a prostitution ring.”...

New York Times 3/10/2008
This law and order philosophy served Mr. Spitzer well becuase the people of New York elected him to Governor in a landslide. Clearly New Yorkers wanted a chief enforcement officer that was assertive when it came to illegal prostitution.

Now Mr. Spitzer finds himself in a bit of a pickle for using his pickle with a call girl; resulting in his resignation. Some are making the case that he should not be prosecuted. But not prosecuting Mr. Spitzer would be denying the citizens of New York what they have clearly stated they want: a no-nonsense, dispassionate, hypocrite-free zone government. And that's what they should get.


Anonymous Mark Jakubik said...

I respect your point of view but, with respect, I think you are wrong. Spizter was rightfully driven from office. But the point of the criminal justice system is NOT to "give the people what they want." It is to sanction, proportionately and without discrimination, that conduct that transgresses societal norms. In that process, legal judgments must be made as to whether the evidence supports charges. Thesze are not decisions left to the public but are, rather, left in the hands of elected and appointed prosecutors. In this case, the US Attorney - not the citizens of the State of New York - will decide whether charges are brought against Eliot Spitzer. This is as it ought to be. The criminal justice process ought not be left to a majority vote, lest our rights and freedoms be subject to the whims of shifting majorities. Based on anyb objective view of the evidence, any reasonable prosecutor will conclude, as I have suggested, that it would be unwise to waste scarce governmental resources pursuing flimsy and, perhaps, baseless charges against Spitzer (you are a believer in sound government spending, no?) Give the citizens of New York what they want? When it comes to who leads them, absolutely. When the question is whether or not to prosecute a particular individual, absolutely not. what you suggest all too easily disintegrates into mob rule.

March 16, 2008 at 9:30 PM  

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