April 6, 2006
The Thompson Memo
The WSJ reports that a federal district court judge in New York City, Judge Lewis A. Kaplan, questioned the Justice Departments use of the now infamous "Thompson Memo" in criminal prosecutions. The Memo lays out guidelines for firms that want to avoid criminal indictment. The guidelines include, among other things, turning over information on employees to prosecutors for prosecution and cutting off support for employees legal defense. It is questionable policy. Judge Kaplan ha suggested that it is unconstitutional! Good grief. So the Sixth Amendment, intended to protect those without means to pay for counsel (requiring government paid lawyers), now protects executive deals with firms to pay for counsel?. The Judge suggested that the memo violated the Sixth Amendment Right to Counsel; this is a stretch to put it mildly -- the Constitution does not (can not and should not) redress all that is unfair. Next we will hear Due Process arguments. Congress needs to fix this, not the Courts using Constitutional sleight-of-hand.
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