The Walkerville Weekly Reader

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Walkerville, VA
Monday, July 8, 2024
Carolyn Purcell, Editor

Starr tactics regain national support

Former Special Prosecutor’s “all or nothing” approach gains support in U.S. among both prosecutors and public.

In the aftermath of the September 11 box-cutter attacks, former independent counsel Kenneth W. Starr’s “guilt first, then proof” prosecution methods are gaining new converts. Starr was criticized during the previous White House administration for targeting individuals for prosecution and then doing whatever was necessary to gain convictions. However, his methods are gaining new acceptance among the public in the wake of the box-cutter hijackings.

“In the past,” said Walden University Law Professor Barbara Boopstein, “it was generally accepted that, once an individual was identified by law enforcement as a criminal, any means of putting that criminal in jail were acceptable. When Kenneth Starr brought this practice to light in the high-profile cases of his independent counsel tenure, that sort of ‘all or nothing’ approach began to lose favor. We as a nation began to think that law enforcement should not be allowed to go on ‘fishing expeditions’ when initial suspicions about a suspect turn out to be false.”

But according to Boopstein, this attitude is “returning to normal” after September’s box-cutter attacks. “We’ve come to accept, again, that when law enforcement targets an individual as being an ‘undesirable,’ they should be allowed wide latitude to bring that individual to justice. Just because the earlier suspicions have no proof doesn’t mean that the suspect should go free.”

Former President William Jefferson Clinton, one of Starr’s targets in the previous administration, agreed. “I should never have complained about Starr’s tactics,” said Clinton. “By putting a spotlight on this vital law enforcement tool, my supporters and I might have contributed to terrorists going free.” Mr. Clinton said that he would be turning himself in soon as a “symbolic gesture” that “law enforcement should get what they want in this matter.”

ACLU leadership and other civil liberties fanatics have decried the loss of due process that this “all or nothing” tactic requires. But law enforcement officials say that due process might be an unaffordable luxury after September.

“Due process gets in the way of law enforcement,” said former Attorney General Richard L. Thornburgh. “Once you’ve got a suspect, he’s guilty. The guilty have no rights. Anything you can do to force the suspect to admit guilt is worthwhile, and should be allowed.”

An anonymous FBI official listed “torture, drugs, threatening family members, and forced viewings of the “COPS!” television show as necessary tactics which are currently forbidden to law enforcement during such fishing expeditions. “When you get a suspect who hasn’t actually committed the crime you brought him in for, sometimes it takes quite a beating to get them to admit to something you can use in court,” said the agent. But there’s a Catch-22: “if you acquired the confession through torture, you can’t use it in court, so the perp walks free.” Taxpayers are even required to pay for the crutches the suspect requires, according to the agent. Says Thornburgh, “reforms are necessary not only to allow torture, but to force all suspects to pay for their own tortures.”

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