Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Oregonian Incompetence Again Rears Its Head

The Oregonian has a fairly long Jeff Mapes' piece by on Bill Sizemore's early release from his 30 day prison sentence.

It also has a link to a long file of its articles on Sizemore. However, if you want to know why Sizemore struck a plea deal that sent him to prison, you have to go to the Statesman Journal.
"Judge Claudia Burton denied most of Sizemore's pretrial motions in a proceeding July 26, leaving little legal ground for Sizemore to argue why he chose not to file returns despite obtaining extensions for at least two of those years and paying some estimated taxes. It was after that proceeding that Sizemore raised the possibility of a plea deal.

"Burton later denied Sizemore's remaining motion, offered in writing, that would have allowed him to argue that he failed to file because he was not certain what his income was.

"'The reality is that the court would not allow me to put on any defense whatsoever,' Sizemore said Monday. 'The Department of Justice persuaded the court that I did not have the right to put on a defense.'"
At least three different Oregonian reporters have written on Sizemore's plea deal and jail sentence at some length (Ryan Kost and Michelle Cole as well as Mapes) and this is the closest any of them came to the above coverage:
"Last week, the Statesman Journal reported that Sizemore lost several pretrial motions he had hoped to use to defend himself against the charges he faced. Instead, he reached a plea agreement with state prosecutors."
This is why the Oregonian is a "constantly-needs-to-be-checked" news source.

As Oregonian reporters Cole and Kost suggest above, if you really want to know about Oregon news, you need to read sources other than the Oregonian. Otherwise you won't have a clue about all the important facts the Oregonian leaves out of its reporting.

H/T Oregon Watchdog

UPDATE: If you would like to give the Sizemore family a little help in getting back on their feet after this travesty of justice, you can paypal a gift to bill@otu.org.

Interesting that even John Kroger has admitted that cases like this are "moral wrongs" and "grossly unjust". Ending his discussion of the Lea Fastow case where Kroger's government team entered criminal charges against a woman who had evaded paying taxes on $208,000 of income when the government for such a low sum usually only brings civil charges and asks for back taxes and a fine (as happened with Tim Geithner), Kroger writes:
"When government actors pursue outcomes that are good for society as a whole, they often commit serious moral wrongs against individuals caught in their web. We should not, like Professor [John] Yoo, sweep this fact under a rug. Instead, we should acknowledge that we have done something which, however necessary, was also grossly unjust. These moments are not to be celebrated. We should not boast that we like to play hardball, as prosecutors often do. Instead, we should confess that in our effort to achieve justice, we have done something atrocious, used another person like a pawn. This expression of remorse is the only way to remind ourselves that utilitarianism has its costs and that the moral stakes, in [Michael] Walzer's words, are ‘very high.’"
(Convictions, p. 448)

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