Snowden, the most decorated police officer in the history of the South Miami Police Department, was sentenced to five life terms -- and was imprisoned with people he had put there. Snowden served 11 years before his conviction was finally overturned by a federal court in an opinion that ridiculed the evidence against him and called his trial "fundamentally unfair."
In a massive criminal justice system, mistakes will be made from time to time. But Janet Reno put people like Snowden in prison not only for crimes that they didn't commit -- but also for crimes that never happened. Such was the soccer-mom-induced hysteria of the '80s, when innocent people were prosecuted for fantastical crimes concocted in therapists' offices.
Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Ashcroft: 0
Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Gonzales: 0
Number of obvious civil rights violations ignored by Reno: at least 1
On Aug. 19, 1991, rabbinical student Yankel Rosenbaum was stabbed to death in Crown Heights by a black racist mob shouting "Kill the Jew!" as retaliation for another Hasidic man killing a black child in a car accident hours earlier.
In a far clearer case of jury nullification than the first Rodney King verdict, a jury composed of nine blacks and three Puerto Ricans acquitted Lemrick Nelson Jr. of the murder -- despite the fact that the police found the bloody murder weapon in his pocket and Rosenbaum's blood on his clothes, and that Rosenbaum, as he lay dying, had identified Nelson as his assailant.
The Hasidic community immediately appealed to the attorney general for a federal civil rights prosecution of Nelson. Reno responded with utter mystification at the idea that anyone's civil rights had been violated.
Civil rights? Where do you get that?
Because they were chanting "Kill the Jew," Rosenbaum is a Jew, and they killed him.
Huh. That's a weird interpretation of "civil rights." It sounds a little harebrained to me, but I guess I could have someone look into it.
It took two years from Nelson's acquittal to get Reno to bring a civil rights case against him.
Number of innocent civilians accused of committing heinous crimes by Ashcroft: 0
Number of innocent civilians accused of committing heinous crimes by Gonzales: 0
Number of innocent civilians accused of committing heinous crimes by Reno: at least 1
Janet Reno presided over the leak of Richard Jewell's name to the media, implicating him in the Atlanta Olympic park bombing in 1996, for which she later apologized. I believe Reno also falsely accused the Miami relatives of Elian Gonzalez of violating the law, which I am not including in her record of false accusations, but reminds me of another comparison.
Number of 6-year-old boys deported to totalitarian dictatorships by Ashcroft: 0
Number of 6-year-old boys deported to totalitarian dictatorships by Gonzales: 0
Number of 6-year-old boys deported to totalitarian dictatorships by Reno: 1
Not until Bush became president was the media interested in discussing the shortcomings of the attorney general. Whatever flaws Alberto Gonzales has (John Ashcroft has none), we don't have to go back to the Harding administration to find a worse attorney general.
From the phony child abuse cases of the '80s to the military assault on Americans at Waco, Janet Reno presided over the most egregious attacks on Americans' basic liberties since the Salem witch trials. These outrageous deprivations of life and liberty were not the work of fanatical right-wing prosecutors, but liberals like Janet Reno.
Reno is the sort of wild-eyed zealot trampling on real civil rights that Hillary views as an ideal attorney general, unlike that brute Alberto Gonzales. At least Reno didn't fire any U.S. attorneys!
Oh wait --
Number of U.S. attorneys fired by Ashcroft: 0
Number of U.S. attorneys fired by Gonzales: 8
Number of U.S. attorneys fired by Reno: 93