Thursday, July 26, 2007
In Boston, Massachussetss today, U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner ordered the U.S. Government to pay four men $ 101 million for wrongful convictions and imprisonment. The men had spent decades in jail, following their convictions for the 1965 murder that they did not commit. The FBI withheld evidence of their innocence from their state court prosecutors, claiming that the FBI had no duty to get involved in a state case and that the four convictions, based on the government’s active encouragement of perjury and the lies of a government informant, were “acceptable collateral damage” in the fight against organized crime. Of this, Judge Gertner said, “The government’s position is, in a word, absurd.” The men’s lawyers did not ask for a specific amount. Judge Gertner told a packed courtroom, “No lost liberty is dispensable. We have fought wars over this principle. We are still fighting these wars.”
This is an example of why it is so very important to have federal judges, who are appointed by Presidents, who have a strong sense of duty to the citizens over the government and who do not feel beholden to or threatened by the governments who appointed them. Most importantly, it is important to have our Presidents appoint judges who ascribe to no particular ideology but who do understand and embrace the real reason behind our Constitution. Liberty is the personal birthright of every American.