Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz has been known as a liberal, and many of his ideas and proclivities are certainly left of center. I like him nonetheless, and not just because he’s a nice guy. I don’t even know if he is one. Nevertheless, he is dead right about at least two issues.
First of all, I believe he is a patriot, and he knows that it is in America’s interest to support and protect Israel. I don’t know how much of his support in that regard comes from his Jewish background, but I don’t care. The State of Israel is the only real friend the U. S. has in the Middle East. There is not one Arab or Muslim state that would fail to throw America under the bus if they had half a chance. That they do not have that chance is due in no small part to our friends in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv.
The other issue Dershowitz seem to come down correctly on is his take on criminal law. Now, I do not like crooks any more than any one. For six years I put myself in harm’s way for the citizens of Dallas to help keep crime down to a manageable level, and regret not one second of that time. I remain an unwavering supported of the death penalty, so long as we can be sure we have the right guy. Getting the right guy is important any time we seek to deprive any person of life, liberty, or property as a punishment for a criminal act. That is why we have the safeguards in a bills of rights, and procedural rules. It is true that there have been police officers who would, in police jargon, “bad rap” someone because they believed he was a bad guy generally, or even, because they didn’t like his complexion or ancestry, but in my experience, there were not many. The prosecutors were, and most doubtless still are, also careful about who they filed formal charges against and took to trial. It has been my observation, however, that the high profile case is where prosecutors get a little crazy and go off the deep end. Whether it’s adrenalin overdose or the prospect of fame and fortune, DA’s, U.S. attorneys, and their underlings become zealots and wannabe avenging angels. Sometimes their zealotry causes them to overreach and screw up a case they should have won, like those who tried O.J. Simpson; sometimes they get themselves in serious trouble, like Nifong in the Duke lacrosse team case. Now we have Angela Corey who was appointed a special prosecutor to try George Zimmerman in the Travon Martin homicide case in Florida.
Professor Dershowitz weighed in on early on Corey’s apparent overcharge, and use of a probable cause affidavit that was so flawed that a first year law student or rookie cop would have been ashamed of. He was right to do so. Unlike most of us, Dershowitz has national standing as a criminal law expert, and demonstrably knows what he is talking about. I was willing to take Corey at her word that she was assessing the facts and applying the law in good faith when she charged Zimmerman with second degree murder. After I read the affidavit she relied upon (and probably had a hand in drafting), and the evidence that has since come out, particularly regarding Zimmerman’s and Martin’s injuries, I will not even grant her that. I can just imagine being a fly on the wall in the meeting when she was appointed. The winks and nods that indicated her career might just take off if she provided cover for the politicians during an election year must have been revealing.
Now Corey wants to sue Dershowitz for defamation. Dershowitz actually said he would welcome a lawsuit, so he could show the nation and the world how wrong Corey is. Good luck on that, as there is the little matter of the New York Times v. Sullivan that in 1964, pretty much made public officials fair game for nearly any criticism unless actual malice as to the untruth of a statement could be proven by the person allegedly defamed. That suit won’t happen. Corey might be full of herself – a bit of a narcissist — but I don’t thinks she is stupid.
Yes, Alan Dershowitz is right about this one too. He might have been a cheerleader for the so-called social justice crowd; he might think a nanny state is a good idea; he might think conservatives, especially social conservatives, are troglodytes. But on the Zimmerman case, he is on the side of the angels – not Angela. He’s my favorite liberal: a classic liberal.
See the story at this link.