View Full Version : Prosecutorial Zeal

Ian McColgin
07-14-2005, 08:05 AM
It's not jailed reporters, but here's another example of a lazy prosecutor abusing the process.

There's a grand jury looking into the Aug. 1, 2003, fire at a condominium construction project. The part under construction burned to the ground. Near-by occupied condominiums were damaged by the extreme heat. All in all, about $50 million in damage.

For that story, check "The Center View: Earth Liberation Front commits most dangerous arson yet. San Diego apartment arson forces 400 to evacuate homes" at http://www.cdfe.org/san_diego_elf_arson.htm

As noted, the Earth Liberation Front took responsibility for the blaze but the perpetrators remain at large.

Later on August 1 a speech was organized to give a platform for a convicted arsonist to "explain" the politics of this crime. It is unknown if that arsonist was in any way connected with the condominium fire.

Three people involved with that speech, David Agranoff who organized it along with Danae Kelley and Michael Cardenas who attended, were hauled before the grand jury.

Cardenas decided to testify, but his remarks were pretty limited as he claims to have left the speech before anything about the fire even came up.

Agranoff and Kelley have told The San Diego Union-Tribune that they do not know who set the fire but they have refused to testify except in open court.

For that they are now in jail and will remain until either they testify or the grand jury term expires.

Perhaps it's not obvious to the prosecutor that they are ignorant as they claim. And obviously the prosecutor does not want them in open court making political speeches. Still, seems a bit callow.

Garrett Lowell
07-14-2005, 08:41 AM
Sorry, Ian, but I'm having a hard time feeling any sympathy.

07-14-2005, 10:24 AM
Proper treatment for grandstanders, from what's said about it. If they're involved they go to the grand jury and take the fifth, and don't end up in jail. If they're not involved, they go to the grand jury and take the fifth, and don't end up in jail. Or they testify.

They wanted a soap box, have gotten one other than the one they wanted, and are having to pay for it.

Alan D. Hyde
07-14-2005, 10:30 AM
Arson is, historically in the common law, a capital crime.

And for good reason.

Burning to death can be an excruciating way to go, whether for a building occupant or for a firefighter. Fire is not a force to be trifled with, as the old sailors well knew.


Ian McColgin
07-15-2005, 06:31 AM
I quite agree that arson is a heinous crime. That's one reason I cited a news story of the arson itself.

I might have been interested in attending this lecture by a convicted "environmental" arsonist. I can't imagine that it would have made me agree with the action but hearing might have helped me understand that pathology and helped me better to counter it.

The problem here is that the prosecutor was not chasing the arsonist. The prosecutor was chasing people who heard or provided a platform for a second hand apologist. Which makes the prosecutor a second-rate bill-of-rights-hating twit.

High C
07-15-2005, 08:14 AM
Originally posted by Ian McColgin:
..."environmental" arsonist... These twits, aside from committing the serious crime of arson, create more pollution by torching automobiles and buildings than would otherwise be made in a lifetime of normal operation. Not to mention the fact that they create new demand to build replacements, and the enviromental impact of that.

Ian McColgin
07-15-2005, 08:56 AM
Our shared opprobrium for the crime of arson should not blind us to the story I'm trying to share here. The prosecutor is chasing the arsonist with about as much skill as Bush 43 has chased the perpetrators of the September 11 terror attack. No Iraqi's took over the planes or planned the attacks.

No lectur organizers or attendees have been shown to have anything to do with the arson. Even the convicted arsonist who lectured to "explain" or justify the crime is so far from the case that he's not even being questioned before the grand jury.

This prosecutor is devoid of any leads to an actual suspect. He's resorted to a flurry of prosecutions designed to limit freedom of speech and assembly rather than admit to his failure as a crime-fighter.

Some have argued that even dangerous and violent attacks on property without human loss or injury are not really terrorism. Others have argued that anything vigorous and illegal, even a rowdy picket-line, is terrorism. Without joining either of those silly extremes, we can note that like more fully-blown terrorism, this arson had two aims.

Firstly, there is the direct attack. The arson destroyed property. Given the unintended risk to human life, the wanton excess of the damage and the fact that most environmentalists found it criminal, the actual arson was not a good tactic.

The second aim of terrorism is to undermine the social and justice systems by making the authorites misbehave. In that respect, the arson has a wonderful allie in the prosecutor and is succeeding beyond any reasonable expectation.

07-15-2005, 10:58 AM
Arson is a crime.

Commenting on arson is not a crime.

Listening to comments about arson is not a crime.