Georgia Thompson Decision Released

As TalkLeft reported here, the Seventh Circuit reversed Georgia Thompson's conviction and ordered her immediate release from prison before issuing a written decision. (Additional TalkLeft posts here and here raise questions about US Attorney Biskupic's handling of the prosecution.)

Today the Seventh Circuit issued its well-reasoned opinion (pdf) explaining the reversal. There's a lesson in it for Congress, as well as for overreaching federal prosecutors:

This prosecution, which led to the conviction and imprisonment of a civil servant for conduct that, as far as this record shows, was designed to pursue the public interest as the employee understood it, may well induce Congress to take another look at the wisdom of enacting ambulatory criminal prohibitions. Haziness designed to avoid loopholes through which bad persons can wriggle can impose high costs on people the statute was not designed to catch.

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    that isn't why they do it (none / 0) (#1)
    by cpinva on Fri Apr 20, 2007 at 04:26:28 PM EST
    Haziness designed to avoid loopholes through which bad persons can wriggle

    they do it so they can have plausible deniability, when it eventually comes back to bite them. they can claim that "that isn't what we intended at all!"

    it happens all the time. the primary purpose is to enable them to successfully run for re-election. i'm surprised the court didn't recognize that reality.

    Why (none / 0) (#2)
    by ding7777 on Fri Apr 20, 2007 at 07:44:17 PM EST
    did the Democratic County DA and the Democratic State AG go with this prosecution?

    as i understand it (none / 0) (#3)
    by cpinva on Sat Apr 21, 2007 at 02:50:52 AM EST
    they had it snatched out from underneath them, by USA biskupic. turning it into a federal case rendered them pretty much impotent in the matter.

    context (none / 0) (#4)
    by Deconstructionist on Sat Apr 21, 2007 at 11:08:17 AM EST
      The 7th Circuit is not going any further than holding that this particular example of sleazy state politics did not involve conduct violative of the specific federal statutes of which Thompson was convicted, because it believes upholding the convictions  requires an interpretation of those statutes which is impermissibly overbroad.

      There is a HUGE diffference between that ruling and and a conclusion that what was done was not "wrong" or even that it could not be properly punished under a law more explicitly notifying a potential miscreant that it was criminal.


    what example? (none / 0) (#5)
    by Sailor on Mon Apr 23, 2007 at 12:51:00 PM EST
    this particular example of sleazy state politics
    there was no example of anything  ... except a loyal bushie trying to influence an election for his puppet masters so he could get off the To Be Fired list.