The resignation of Missouri Governor Eric Greitens (R), a result that appears to have been over-due, deserved, and necessary, also involved a common form of unethical prosecution. The device is called Release-Dismiss, and it looks, smells and feels unethical. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court and most of the states continue to allow it. They shouldn’t.
Greiten’s resignation came as a result of a plea deal after St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner agreed to dismiss charges that Greitens tampered with a computer donor list of a veterans’ charity he founded. The deal also included Grietens’ promise not to sue Gardner or her office.
Greitens’ legal fees were over $2 million, he said, and he could not afford to go to trial on the charges. Gardner said she was confident she had the evidence required to convict Greitens. (That’s what they all say.) But the fact remains that the threat of criminal prosecution was used to pressure Greitens into giving up his civil rights.
In a scholarly paper on this maneuver, one authority writes,
A phenomenon exists in the criminal justice world which allows a prosecutor to strike a bargain with a criminal defendant, permitting them both to cut their losses and walk away from a mutually bad situation. On occasions where arrested individuals may have been wronged by public officials in the course of their arrests, prosecutors may legally agree to dismiss defendants’ criminal charges in exchange for releases by the defendants of any civil claims arising from the arrests. The release-dismissal agreement, and variations upon its theme,’ have been the subject of controversy for several years.
Its supporters rely on the obvious efficiency embodied in the situation. Despite this efficiency, such agreements are dangerous, detrimental to the criminal justice system, and against the better interests of society.
The last of our four unethical missives (the previous ones are here, here, and here) comes from the CEO of Grubhub. But first, consider the election night Facebook discourse above, by the chief executive of San Diego cybersecurity start-up PacketSled, Matt Harrigan. The key tweets are a bit hard to read. The top left one says he’s going to kill the President-Elect. The bottom left says he’s getting a sniper rifle.
GrubHub Inc. CEO Matt Maloney was a bit more genteel, writing to his employees The Day After:
SUBJECT: So… that happened… what’s next?
I’m still trying to reconcile my own worldview with the overwhelming message that was delivered last night. Clearly there are a lot of people angry and scared as the antithesis of every modern presidential candidate won and will be our next president. While demeaning, insulting and ridiculing minorities, immigrants and the physically/mentally disabled worked for Mr. Trump, I want to be clear that this behavior – and these views, have no place at Grubhub. Had he worked here, many of his comments would have resulted in his immediate termination.
We have worked for years cultivating a culture of support and inclusiveness. I firmly believe that we must bring together different perspectives to continue innovating – including all genders, races, ethnicities and sexual, cultural or ideological preferences. We are better, faster and stronger together. Further I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can.As we all try to understand what this vote means to us, I want to affirm to anyone on our team that is scared or feels personally exposed, that I and everyone else here at Grubhub will fight for your dignity and your right to make a better life for yourself and your family here in the United States.
If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here. We do not tolerate hateful attitudes on our team.I want to repeat what Hillary said this morning, that the new administration deserves our open minds and a chance to lead, but never stop believing that the fight for what’s right is worth it.
Stay strong, Matt
The key text was this…
“I absolutely reject the nationalist, anti-immigrant and hateful politics of Donald Trump and will work to shield our community from this movement as best as I can….If you do not agree with this statement then please reply to this email with your resignation because you have no place here.”
There’s nothing wrong with nationalism, in moderation. Trump isn’t anti-immigrant, he’s anti-illegal immigrant. What constitutes the politics of Donald Trump and whether or not it is hateful is open to interpretation. Nonetheless, Maloney is clearly saying that his employees must agree with his partisan views (and selective sense of diversity or inclusion), or they forfeit their jobs.
After it was pointed out to Maloney that the e-mail demanded ideological conformity, was probably illegal under some state laws (like California) and was gallactically stupid, he tried to explain with a deceitful apology, writing in part, Continue reading
In Minnesota, Zacharia Yusuf Abdurahman, Abdirizak Mohamed Warsame, Abdullahi Mohamud Yusuf, and Hanad Mustafe Musse pleaded guilty to federal charges of conspiracy to provide material support to ISIS. The defendants charged last April following an investigation into a network of young Somali-Americans involved in ISIS recruitment in Minnesota. ordered the four to undergo an evaluation by a visiting German scholar, Daniel Koehler, director of the German Institute on Radicalization and Deradicalization Studies in Stuttgart. His evaluation of the men will factor into Davis’ sentencing decisions, and will form the basis of a “de-radicalization program” to rid the men of their radical ideology.
The Star Tribune reports that the program will be the first of its kind in the United States. (Well that’s a relief.) Apparently such deprogramming treatments are used to “cure” radical recruits in Europe, as hundreds of young people have left to join Middle Eastern militants.
Wait, are anyone else’s ethics alarms ringing like crazy? Mine just busted an ear drum. Continue reading