Thursday, January 15, 2009

Jackson County Ethical Lies - It's Not Double Jeopardy!

Is it "double jeopardy" to be required to follow the laws of both the County and the State? Of course not. When Henry Rizzo argued that "The Legislature didn’t think it needed to subject itself to 'double jeopardy' by being under both state and county commissions", he was abusing an important constitutional term in an attempt to cover his own unwillingness to be held to ethical standards. Sadly, this appalling and cynical dodge of responsibility is being used by other legislators, as well - one of whom looked me in the eye and tried to claim that Scott Burnett's twice-examined and once-penalized ethics brouhaha was an example of "double jeopardy".

Nonsense.

Anyone who tries to argue that it is double jeopardy to be bound by both the Jackson County ethics code and state campaign laws is either ignorant or lying. Neither is an attractive trait in someone we have trusted to be a legislator.

Simply stated, "double jeopardy" is being tried twice for the same offense, and it is banned by the 5th Amendment to the United States Constitution. It does not apply, though, if you commit an act which is subject to prosecution by two authorities under separate laws. The LAPD officers who pounded Rodney King were convicted in federal court after being acquitted by the state court, because their behavior violated different laws for different levels of government. If you rob a bank, don't expect to get off easy by copping a plea to a speeding ticket in the getaway car.

Rizzo's claim of double jeopardy is rendered even more silly by the fact that the Jackson County Ethics Code and the laws enforced by the Missouri Ethics Commission do not even overlap entirely. The Missouri Ethics Commission is limited to enforcement of STATE "conflict of interest and lobbying laws (RSMo 105.450-498) and campaign finance disclosure laws (RSMo 130)." Even if they wanted to enforce the standards of local Jackson County voters, they would not be authorized to do so.

Rizzo and other legislators who invoke the Double Jeopardy clause are trying to wrap themselves in our Constitution while shielding themselves from local ethics laws. It is a despicable trick, and they should be ashamed of themselves.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous SWest HS 77 said...

Of course it is not double jeopardy.

Henry Rizzo just heard that term while waiting to be pulled out of a holding cell a couple of times. He was chomping at the bit for a chance to use it. That does not mean he knew what it means.

As far as Scott Burnett goes, he is just a small-time crook trying to impress Rizzo, who is a big time crook.

Denny Waits is a kickback artist who sees no problem with representing clients in front of judges who have to come to him for their budget.

Dan Tarwarter is a dumb as they come but those Irish Catholics stick together like a wad of day-old boogers, so he has a base in the wonderful White Southside.

The rest of them just show up to collect their check until somebody names a golf course after them.

1/15/2009 4:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Come on Dan, you rember the judge taking bribes in muni court don'e you?

Are you seriously trying to pretend that was isolated?

There is BIG TIME shit going down in the County, especially in Eastern Jac where the 'local boys' have the ins.

You know it.

We all know it.

Gimme a break.


Muni court hack

1/15/2009 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The biggest crook on County Legislature is probably Denny.

1/15/2009 5:38 PM  
Blogger KC Sponge said...

Maybe he was just thinking of "Double Jeopardy" - the movie with Ashley Judd . . . He was just using the term as a euphimism for just wrong, plain wrong.

1/18/2009 3:22 PM  

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