Thursday, October 2, 2008

Mike Hashimoto Made Me Physically Ill

I was raised to believe to respect life. I don't know many people - sociopaths and those with homicidal tendencies aside - who can simply shrug their shoulders and allow someone to die - especially unjustly. Having covered the criminal justice system, and having closely followed Dallas County DA Craig Watkins efforts to make sure no innocent man is in prison, I am not confident that everyone that makes that stop in Huntsville to sit on death row is guilty. Neither, apparently, is Watkins, who recently announced he would be spearheading an effort to try to determine that very thing. But last week, DMN Editorial Board member Mike Hashimoto implied that Watkins' gesture was a publicity-seeking one, washing the entire effort in a dirty film of near character assassination. It turns my stomach to think that someone who should be celebrating this extra bit of sunshine on a branch of county government could denigrate a gesture that has so far uncovered the seedier side of Dallas justice. As Grits for Breakfast pointed out in his response, "Why not at least acknowledge that his actions aren't totally out of left field?" Yes, Watkins has received a lot of publicity. But that publicity is now recorded history. People now have doubts about a prosecutor that was once celebrated - because they are now fully informed about Henry Wade's actions. When history is recorded, it makes it doubly harder - or at least gives an object lesson - for someone tempted to repeat it. With this national attention on Watkins' efforts, what future prosecutor is going to want to suppress evidence when the danger is there that your successor will uncover it, and therefore rewrite your legacy? So, Mr. Hashimoto, I can take a little grandstanding, if it means justice. I can take the possible publicity-seeking, if it means that we don't find out five years from now that an innocent man was lethally injected. Why can't you?