The Roger Clemens Fiasco

The Roger Clemens prosecution debacle has ceased to exist. It's as if the near five-year investigation, near two-year-old indictment, one mistrial for prosecutorial misconduct and near several months long trial never happened. Web analytics shows that his name has been mentioned only a few times in the last few hours, mere days after his not guilty on all counts verdict. I predicted that the government would not add a Roger Clemens notch to its high-profile gun belt. It is time for the government to protect us from the likes of murderers, drug cartels, pedophiles, and bankers-not from a retired jock that may have lied to Congress. This was exactly the sentiment echoed by one of the jurors. Who cares? In a time where not one -- nada, zippo, zilch -- person has been put in jail for the massive bank failure, stop spending taxpayer money on this type of headhunt against a sports figure who is meaningless in the scheme of our individual quality of life. Let Major League Baseball handle steroid use among baseball players.

This type of prosecution does have real costs. Let's put aside for the next three paragraphs the toll on Clemens, his wife, his children, his reputation and his Baseball Hall of Fame chances; let's talk about money.

How much did this failed prosecution -- that never should have been brought in the first place-cost? Let's start with the misplaced Congressional hearing on steroids in baseball. In a time we are at war, with trillions of dollars in debt, threatened everyday by the possibility of terrorists attacks, worldwide economic failure, what the heck was Congress doing having hearings, that cost mega-money, on this issue? Answer -- Clemens and others were headliner athletes and politicians had a television opportunity. High profile news media addiction is my layperson diagnosis of Congress's disease. Yet, when the seven tobacco company executives -- "the Seven Dwarves" -- testified before Congress that "nicotine was not addictive", no one indicted any of those who profiteered from human suffering from their cancer causing sticks.

There is a time for prosecutors to be accountable to us the taxpaying public. Their unbridled media substance craving must end. It is time for prosecutors to stop charging after high- profile people in the hopes as one juror so aptly surmised 'to make a name for themselves'. Just as in business, there should be itemized time sheets and costs kept for each such prosecution down to the Lincoln penny -- and this should be made public. Take how much time each prosecutorial team member spends on the matter, pro-rate each's salary, each's pension, and the perks on a costs incurred spreadsheet. Allocate all office costs to each case right down to computer input time, paralegal time, file folders and each pencil. Let's add how much the first trial's mistrial cost when the team of federal prosecutors made a rookie mistake on day one mentioning evidence the seasoned federal judge had previously ruled inadmissible. Those prosecutors should have been required to pay us taxpayers back for their negligent malpractice. Prosecutors do not deserve a pass merely because the government employs them. In any job you or I would have been at the very least reprimanded and suffered consequences. Why did the taxpayer have to absorb the costs for their incompetence?

When an indigent or impoverished defendant seeks to have his or her case funded by the government, rigorous scrutiny is imposed on the costs allowed, even though the government has limitless resources. The time has come to impose that same scrutiny on the unbridled cash flow for high profile prosecutions -- from taxpayer cash cows -- and impose limits. Let's also impose restrictions on prosecutorial use of high -- profile convictions as a stepping-stone to seek elective public office. Restrict access to such career enhancement for five years. See how fast the desire to prosecute high profile cases diminishes.

The knee-jerk reaction I hear from people when I take this view is the thematic "Don't you believe he took steroids? Of, course he did. He should have been convicted." Exactly the problem for Clemens, he is convicted in the court of public opinion, five years of his life ruined, his family tormented, his finances devastated, his Baseball Hall of Fame chances in question. He, like Milwaukee Brewer Ryan Braun, is forever tarnished with the accusation made by legal bureaucrats. Now the United States Anti-Doping Agency is after Lance Armstrong on ridiculous unscientific "science".

Fans love our nation's sports figures. Some are reprobates and deadbeats. Rocket Roger was neither. The government in this case is both.