Shame on You, Brett Ligon

 Posted on December 12, 2010 in Uncategorized

Here, they have a party for the assistant District Attorney.... They have cake and cookies and speeches, lots of clapping and back slapping, and then, a gold coin is given to that prosecutor to memorialize their "Queen for a Day" status. The prosecutor is given a gold coin to hang on their wall and everyone is made to recognize the happy occasion.

(Montgomery County, Texas criminal defense lawyer Kelly Case's blog)

So what's the occasion? Promotion? The birth of a child? Board certification? Potty-training success?

Oh, no no no no no.

The Montgomery County, Texas District Attorney's Office, under the direction of Brett Ligon, has an odd celebration that is performed when one of its prosecutors obtains a life sentence.

(Emphasis added.)

Sometimes people need life sentences. But a prosecutor's job is to do justice, and there is no more justice inherent in a life sentence than in probation. By making a show of rewarding life sentences, the Montgomery County District Attorney turns what should be a quest for justice into a game in which the sentence is the score.

What about the Assistant District Attorneys? Aren't these conscientious educated professionals refusing to support Ligon in this revolting practice?

What is especially sickening to me is the fact that a gold coin is handed out as a party favor at the happy event to memorialize such a tragic situation. What is even worse is that no one in their office thinks twice about it. They see nothing wrong with it.

Well, not exactly nothing; it's actually much worse (and more banal) than that...

Even the assistant DA's know better because when you ask them about it, they try to put the coin away or will sheepishly avoid the question. They are ashamed of it when publicly confronted, but behind closed doors, they celebrate and hope to be the next one to earn the coin!

This is nothing new in Constitutional backwater Montgomery County (driving directions: from Houston, get on I-45 North and go back in time 50 years): a friend who was a prosecutor there some years ago told me about the parties the office had when a defendant was sentenced to death.

There are people who do difficult jobs with quiet dignity. Montgomery County's District Attorney, Brett Ligon, and his assistants are not among them.

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