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Articles by Donald E. L. Johnson

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Stan Garnett shows his lack of integrity in going after John Suthers

The liberal Denver Post editorial page has criticized Republican Scott McInnis for telling too many white lies, and now it has come down hard on Democrat Stan Garnett, a candidate for attorney general, for his misleading attack on incumbent Attorney General John Suthers. Garnett, in his desperation to find an attack line, has tried to turn a tragedy into a political advantage for himself. Instead, he’s showing that like too many politically ambitious district attorneys, he would abuse his power and make legal decisions for the state that would benefit Democrats, not all of the people of Colorado.

Garnett, who’s been in office as the Boulder county district attorney for less than two years, is making the rookie mistake of trying to hang a “Willie Horton” case around Suthers’ neck. During the 1988 presidential campaign, the Democrats’ candidate, Michael Dukakis, was demonized successfully by Republicans for releasing Willie Horton, a convicted killer who went on to commit rape and assault in Maryland. 

In 2002, the FBI and Suthers’s staff got Suthers to sign papers that released a non-violent check forger who promised to turn informant to protect a witness in another case who was being threatened by another criminal. The informant went on to murder four people. And the FBI has restructured its screening processes to keep such tragedies from happening again. Garnett is trying to blame Suther’s for the FBI’s tragic mistakes in that case.

The Post’s editorial concludes:

The FBI has since restructured its confidential informants’ program to include tougher screening of potential informants. Clearly, the program was a failure as regards Kimball, and it makes sense to restructure it.

But the hard truth is that confidential informants, sometimes bad actors, play a vital role in helping authorities penetrate the criminal world. Kimball was meant to help the FBI prevent a murder and to seek justice in a drug case. The expectation should be that the Colorado U.S. Attorney’s Office would be on board with those goals.

Yet Suthers’ Democratic opponent in his bid for re-election as attorney general immediately used the Kimball story as a political bludgeon.

“This is one of the worst plea bargains in the history of the world,” Boulder District Attorney Stan Garnett told The Denver Post’s Kevin Vaughan.

Other Democrats have invoked the specter of Willie Horton.

But the facts of the Kimball case don’t support such a comparison. Horton was a convicted murderer released from prison by a compassionate governor on a weekend furlough. He went on to commit a rape and armed robbery.

Kimball was a convicted con man released to the FBI as part of a criminal investigation.

Yes, Kimball killed four and we don’t want to make light of that. His crimes were heinous, but the blame for them — to the extent it doesn’t entirely fall on the murderer himself — better rests with the FBI and holes in the screening process, not a U.S. attorney who agreed to allow investigators to use him as an informant.

So far, the Post is doing an outstanding job of trying to keep this year’s candidates in both parties honest. The paper obviously is as tired of watching President Obama and Colorado Democrats lie and mislead voters as the voters are. By pointing out candidates’ character flaws before they’re elected, the Post is providing a great service to its readers.

LINKs:

Wrongly pointing fingers at Suthers; the former U.S. attorney, now running for re-election as state attorney general, acted justifiably in the case of Scott Kimball. Denver Post editorial.

Bush attacks Dukakis on Massachusetts furlough law. AP.

Willie Horton. Wikipedia.

 

 

 

Posted by Donald E. L. Johnson on 05/27/2010 at 07:08 AM

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