Thursday, September 4, 2008
The media is reporting that Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick will plead guilty (see below). Looking at the plea reported by the press, one can understand why he would plead guilty. The risk of trial can be enormous, both in possible punishment, cost of legal counsel fees, and personal family and psychological costs. This plea offers finality to the situation - something that will probably help the mayor and those around him move on with their lives. It removes the uncertainly that has probably been hanging over his head for some time now. For the government, the resolution allows them to move onto the next case and report a statistic of conviction.
Some will likely claim the sentence is too light, and others will argue that the conviction he now bears is too heavy. But even when the judicial system offers some precision, such as the cases operating under the federal sentencing guidelines, many are unhappy.
Here, this state case provides a resolution that demonstrates that a state can investigate and prosecute state officials. The federal government should take note of this, as they are often quick to step in and prosecute state corruption.
The case also demonstrates the importance of the press and investigative reporting. Without the press, one has to wonder the extent to which this case would have happened. With a diminishing press nationwide, it raises concerns about the future of the ability of the people to have a watchdog on certain government conduct.
Cory Williams & Ed White, Atlanta Jrl Constitution, Detroit mayor agrees to plead guilty, resign
M. L. Elrick, Jim Schaefer, Joe Swickward, Ben Schmitt, Detroit Free Press, Mayor: 'I Lied Under Oath' - He'll resign, serve 120 days in jail, pay $ 1 M restitution
Addendum - Susan Saulny, New York Times, Detroit Mayor Pleads Guilty, Agrees to Resign