Saturday, August 13, 2011

Victimizing The Victims Of Fast & Furious

Shown are some of the beneficiaries of notorious Operation Fast and Furious. The same administration that regularly attempts to hogtie the Second Amendment for American citizens is also the one that helped create a well-armed militia in Mexico. After arming Mexican drug cartel members to the teeth, resulting in deaths on both sides of the border, the administration now chooses to deny assistance for victims of their boondoggle.

Several decades back, the states and the federal government decided to assist victims of violent crime and family members by granting certain monetary compensation. In many cases, the compensation was a simple administrative act, but many others first required a formal showing of a direct link between the harm caused and the defendant charged (considerably less than a conviction in open court). As time went on, more "victim's rights" were legislated, including the right of the victims and their families to be notified of all court proceedings, to meet with the prosecutors, and to testify at sentencing and parole hearings. This latter expansion of victim's rights has had a recent unintended consequence.

So long as compensation to the victims' families was purely monetary, it had little effect on any pending criminal investigations or court proceedings. But once the victims became actual participants in the judicial process, the game plan for prosecutors changed. Honest and ethical prosecutors would proceed without regard for any possible negative effects the trial participation (active or passive) of the victims might be. But highly-politicized prosecutors often began to look at another factor. Could bringing this victim or his family into the proceedings by way of the victims of violent crimes statutes harm their position or that of the political party to which they have fealty? And thus it is with Operation Fast and Furious.

The operation has already become a major scandal for the Obama administration, and federal prosecutors under orders from their Attorney General are doing everything in their power to keep the botched and deadly operation from leading directly to the White House. We have discussed the operation and its deadly results in several posts at this site. Now a new twist to the nefarious activities of the government has been added. Federal prosecutors are denying victims of violent crimes protection and assistance to the family of Border Agent Brian Terry. Terry was killed by cartel member Jaime Avila using a high-powered rifle purchased during Fast and Furious.

Compensation that would in the past have been treated as a routine court/administrative matter has now become a political hot potato because compensating Terry's family and allowing them participation in the penalty phase would be a tacit admission that a thug murdered a law enforcement officer on American soil using a weapon purchased and reimported into the United States as a result of the government's failed operation. Attorney General Eric Holder is not going to allow that to happen without putting roadblocks in the way of the wife and children of the slain officer.

Even though Brian Terry's horrible death was the final blow to Operation Fast and Furious, federal prosecutors have decided that until the murder weapon is linked to both Avila and Fast and Furious beyond a reasonable doubt at trial, the Terry family will just have to fend for itself. There is very little doubt that Avila committed the crime and that the weapon used was part of the botched operation, but if the prosecutors can put off actual trial until after next year's elections, the taint of government participation in a resulting death would not be in front of the American voters. So the grieving family can simply wait to get that one small piece of justice that the victims of violent crimes acts provide.

The prosecutors went before a federal judge specifically to deny victim status to the Terry family, arguing that it has not yet been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Avila and the operation "directly and proximately harmed Terry (and his family). Although the same prosecutors have charged Avila with conspiring to deal in firearms without a license, dealing firearms without a license, and lying to federal investigators, they have held off charging him with unlawful homicide and use of an illegal weapon in Terry's murder. Thus they can use the reprehensible argument that "the victim of the offenses is not any particular person, but society in general."

The government's CYA tactics were bad enough before they pulled this one. Denying a widow and her now-fatherless children of satisfaction to gain a political advantage is beneath contempt. Said George McCubbin, president of the National Border Patrol Council: "I think it's pretty bold of the government to take this position. It's the government trying to cover its backside and minimize the embarrassment over a failed gun investigation. There is no other reason for this."

If there is any justice in this world, the DOJ attempt at a further coverup will backfire. As word gets out that Mrs. Terry and the kids are being told that their husband/father was just an insignificant casualty of war, mere collateral damage, the public is likely to be even more outraged than they were at the earlier revelations about the disaster that was Operation Fast and Furious. No thanks to Eric Holder and his department for even those revelations.

Terry's family is the victim of a violent crime, regardless of what is or is not proven later at trial. He wasn't struck by lightning. He didn't fall off a cliff. He was shot and killed while on duty by a criminal or criminals during the commission of a violent act. The statutes require compensation, now. Justice delayed is indeed justice denied.

21 comments:

Joel Farnham said...

This is another sick item from a totally sick administration. B*stards.

Tennessee Jed said...

I suppose the entire concept of conpensation to victims could be an interesting debate, but the hypocricy involved here is plenty obvious. Not only that, the media arm of the DNC has thus far done a pretty good job of stifling this. I've had a hard time (except for you) finding anyone applying pressure. Perhaps that is because we never seem to get anyone to "cave" in and name names.

Naturally we can all see the logic of holding off the trial until after the 2012 election while making sure to release "Obama Got Osama" (working title) two weeks before the election.

LL said...

The NEXT Administration in Washington DC will have to put things right with this - and hopefully without a cloud of retribution hanging over their heads, people will feel free to tell who did what.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: They lack heads and hearts.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tennessee: I was involved in those debates back in the 70s when California decided to set up the fund. I supported the concept of helping those most devastated by criminal violence who were unable to help themselves. But I opposed a blanket "one size fits all" compensation for all victims regardless of physical and economic condition. There had been a crime wave nationwide at the time, and victims rights were a big political issue across-the-boards. So, as usual, the politicians went overboard. But for the first time, victims had a voice at trial, and that was a good thing.

I could be wrong, but this just doesn't sound like the kind of thing Obama and Holder can keep under wraps for an extended period of time. Of course we can't see the pressure that is probably being put on the Terry family to keep this quiet. "If you don't want us to look into your husband's record to deny your widow's benefit, just keep your mouth shut." It wouldn't surprise me with this thuggish administration.

LawHawkRFD said...

LL: I'm guessing they will get their just compensation with the advent of a new administration. But as I quoted, "justice delayed is justice denied."

Tehachapi Tom said...

Hawk
DOJ equals oxymoron with this issue. Of course what can one expect from bo's administration.
I suspect this is only one place where such is happening. Thank you for alerting us.

Libertarian Advocate said...

Litigation posture: Perhaps the administration is worried that compensating the victims of F&F is tantamount to an admission of fault.

LawHawkRFD said...

Tehachapi Tom: There are a great many things being done at the Department of Justice, but justice isn't one of them.

LawHawkRFD said...

Libertarian Advocate: This was admittedly buried late in the article: ". . . if the prosecutors can put off actual trial until after next year's elections, the taint of government participation in a resulting death would not be in front of the American voters."

I had prefaced that remark with: "But highly-politicized prosecutors often began to look at another factor. Could bringing this victim or his family into the proceedings by way of the victims of violent crimes statutes harm their position or that of the political party to which they have fealty?"

I believe that the DOJ is denying compensation and participation to the Terry family for exactly that reason. You are right on the money on that.

AndrewPrice said...

The Obama administration and its politicized justice department never fails to amaze my in terms of finding new depths. The whole department needs to be purged when we take over the White House.

LawHawkRFD said...

Andrew: I've been through even more Justice Department than you (or almost anyone), and this one is in a class all by itself. Even Nixon's DOJ did things behind the scenes, and often misguidedly but patriotically. Holder is just right in our faces with his total politicization of the department. I didn't think I could be shocked after all these years, but they've managed to do it.

LawHawkRFD said...

Gov. Perry of Texas is making his formal "log cabin" announcement right now. For good or ill, he's about to shake up the Republican field.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Truth is the virtue of the mind and Obama's DOJ, indeed, his entire administration is devoid of virtue.

There's a smoking gun in this scandal. Several smoking guns.
I hope that Obama, Holder and their Dept. Of (in)Justices' zeal to hide the truth and deny this widow and children justice is front and center of several Presidential campaign ads, as well as all the other scandals this Administration is involved in.

Obama and his thugs have gone out of their way to ignore our Constitution and our laws hoping that they can hide their illegal activities with the help of the democrat controlled ministers of propaganda called the MSM.

But truth and justice won't be denied, and thanks to you, LawHawk and everyone who is shedding light on the blight of Obummer's Administration and Chicago tactics.

Despicable tactics that would make the likes of Al Capone green with envy.
Organized crime is thriving under this corrupt Administration.
Perhaps we should start calling him Don Obama or El GuapObama.

Joel Farnham said...

Wow, Perry was born a poor white chile. Farmed with one hand while growing up and with the other made sure the border was not closed. Helped illegals get college education, Texas version of the Dream ACT. Tripled his state's debt.

I don't know. I do know he is not as conservative as Red State thinks.

LawHawkRFD said...

USSBen: You are so right. Virtue is a word that simply doesn't exist in the lexicon of the left. It also implies a certain manliness (Lat. vir) as opposed to the more general humanity (Lat. homo). I haven't seen a lot of manliness in this administration either. Everything they do is sneaky back door politics.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: Yeah, I caught it too. Which explains my "log cabin" remark. His record is very spotty, and sounds far too much like George Bush, big government, and compassionate conservatism. But we'll have to see where he heads next.

Joel Farnham said...

I noticed that Perry avoided the Iowa straw poll. He didn't want to be humiliated. Somehow, he annoyed them. These guys are disappointing.

LawHawkRFD said...

Joel: I'm sure that Perry had many reasons for avoiding the straw poll, embarrassment among them.

LawHawkRFD said...

Bachmann and Paul took the top spots in the Iowa straw poll. Pawlenty came in third, with a decent but disappointing showing. It should be interesting. If Pawlenty had come in second, I'm pretty sure he'd go on. Coming in third is no disgrace in a strange poll like this one, but it might be enough to cause him to drop out of the race.

Joel Farnham said...

I think Bachman won because she was asked if she would submit to her husband. Ron Paul came in second because he answered the Federal question correctly. Pawlenty, if he is smart, won't quit.

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