All too often I’ve had to describe Governor Strickland’s decisions as either incompetent or purposefully and ethically wrong.
Well, I guess it’s time to add Attorney General Cordray’s actions under the same description.
From Wednesday’s Columbus Dispatch:
Gov. Ted Strickland and Attorney General Richard Cordray wrote yesterday to prosecutors in seven criminal cases, including Swanson’s, urging them to allow DNA testing that could confirm guilt or prove innocence. In each of those cases, DNA testing has been opposed by prosecutors and ultimately refused by judges.
“I really think it’s irrational not to take advantage of methods that could establish either guilt or innocence when those technologies are available to us,” Strickland told The Dispatch. “I can think of no good argument why anyone would be denied DNA testing if, in fact, there is a reasonable or relevant opportunity to bring clarity to whether or not someone is guilty of a crime.”
Strickland said that neither he nor Cordray has the legal authority to require local prosecutors or judges to grant DNA testing. The letters simply ask the prosecutors to voluntarily make the evidence available for testing “as a matter of public policy.”
To the layman, it seems like a safe and painless request, right?
Not so much, at least according to the bipartisan Ohio Prosecuting Attorneys Association. This is a portion of a letter sent to the Governor in response to his request:
I’ve attached the letter from the OPAA below in full, as well as a particularly powerful letter from the Fairfield County Prosecuting Attorney that discusses another case Strickland and Cordray wanted to open back up. I highly recommend you read both to gain a full understanding of just how horribly wrong Strickland and Cordray are by making such a request.
In addition, the Portage County Prosecuting Attorney had this to say, “It’s a pending case. I thought it to be improper or inappropriate for anyone to interject themselves into pending litigation like that. … We’re going to let the Supreme Court make their decision and let the judicial process take its course here.”
There are times when utilizing the bully pulpit has its uses. But Strickland and Cordray seem to have gone far out of bounds this time. If this was truly a concern of theirs, couldn’t they have at least tried to address the issue privately rather than trying to score political points? Of course not. That’s not how these two operate.
The question is whether the press and the voters call them out on it.