Reflections on the Dismissal of Charges Against Rick Koerber
By Ken K. Gourdin
Note: I posted the following today at SLTrib.com in response to an Op-Ed by Marcus Mumford, the attorney for so-called “Free Capitalist” Rick Koerber. Many of the comments derided Koerber’s attorney for daring to defend that “crook.” The Op-Ed can be found here, last accessed today:
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“Koerber’s nothing but a crook,” you say. “His attorney is nothing but a lying scumbag,” you say. “We all ‘know’ it,” you say. I’m no Koerber apologist: maybe his whole enterprise really is nothing but a giant Ponzi scheme. But, see, here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter what anybody “knows”; the only thing that matters is what they can prove. The feds had, what, five years to prove their case against Koerber, indictment after amended indictment, and just … never got around to it?
Yet, on the other hand, when they come after somebody we all “know” is innocent, all of a sudden, they’re the Big, Bad, Mean Prosecuting Machine? I am one of the most pro-police, pro-prosecution people you will ever run across, and I’ve taken plenty of heat for that in this corner of Cyber space, both for what I’ve written on-line and what I’ve had published in the Tribune and elsewhere.
Either everybody’s entitled to a speedy trial (yes, even the people we “know” are guilty), or nobody is; either everybody’s entitled to the most vigorous defense possible within the bounds of law and legal ethics, or nobody is; either everybody’s entitled to have someone advocate for them who will hold the prosecution’s feet to the fire, or nobody is; either everybody’s entitled to an advocate who will make the prosecution put all of its cards on the table within a reasonable time after filing charges, or nobody is.
Face it: You may not like Rick Koerber; you may not like his attorney. But if you were accused, and if prosecutors were content to let the case against you drag on, and on, and on, you’d want (in fact, you would demand) the exact same thing Rick Koerber got; and rightly so.