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View Diary: Criminally Investigating Not the Problem, But Rather the Person Who Raised the Problem (198 comments)

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  •  You are missing the point entirely. (1+ / 0-)
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    MsGrin

    All one needs to do is look at every action brought by private citizens against government officials for the past several years to realize that scope of employment has been stretched so far out of all proportion as to be unrecognizable.

    Those are civil actions. That is where the "scope of employment" operates. That principle offers no protection for an official violating criminal law.

    A contracting officer cannot be sued even if exercising bad judgment for actions within the scope of duties such as selecting a winner among competitors. That official found to have accepted a luxury car as a "gift" to influence that decision violates criminal law and has no such shield. One high profile case occured in the Bush administration: Darleen Druyun.

    Now, I'll agree that the scope thing has been stretched to breaking, often at local government levels. It seems to me that it once had a sanity test in which the flawed action had to meet some reasonable standard--a mistake, a blunder without bad faith, something anyone might do. I've recently seen it applied to things that pass no such sanity or smell test.

    The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

    by pelagicray on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 11:09:24 AM PST

    [ Parent ]

    •  let me get this right.... (2+ / 0-)
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      Simian, MsGrin

      Those are civil actions. That is where the "scope of employment" operates. That principle offers no protection for an official violating criminal law.

      We witnessed just how far violations like 18 USC 242 et. al. especially 18 USC 2441 flew just this past year in the Northern District of Virginia regarding the case of the German citizen who was kidnapped & subjected to extraordinary rendition and held for several months, tortured and released on a dark road in Macedonia.  Donald Rumsfeld skated regardless of the criminal violations inherent in the government actions that he authorized and supervised in part.  I submit that holding a federal official in a policy formulating position accountable for violations of 18 USC regardless if their violations of law were in or outside their official capacity would only happen for crimes like committing mass murder in the workplace AKA "going postal" or if there was no other way to save the government from the embarrassment (Abramoff related).  Heck, even the Dep't of Interior, oil & gas section employees from the Denver office that traded sex, drugs & money for favorable royalty and lease decisions were handled administratively.

      Again, please show me some case references.

      •  Right. The "scope of employment" shield applies (3+ / 0-)
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        Vitarai, paul94611, MsGrin

        to civil actions. I have never heard of any civil employee having a legal shield against criminal charges. They do have certain immunity from legal actions resulting from acts determined to be within the scope of duty and not criminal in nature. That principle has nothing to do with "the criminal violations inherent in the government actions that he authorized and supervised" you mention.

        What you are talking about is a general failure of our legal system and the "rule of law," a corrupt Executive asserting royal perogative and failure of the Legislative to remedy that by impeachment and removal.

        It is a mistake and confuses issues to conflate one with the other. The civil shield has a purpose. Nobody could afford to serve or be employed by government if exposed to lawsuit and expenses of defending against unlimited lawsuits challenging acts within the legal scope of their duties. The other is simply refusal of the executive branch prosecutors to do their jobs and honor their oaths--whether federal, state or local.

        The only foes that threaten America are the enemies at home, and those are ignorance, superstition, and incompetence. [Elbert Hubbard]

        by pelagicray on Thu Jan 08, 2009 at 02:14:49 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We are in agreement.. (0+ / 0-)

          The key will be the process whereby our political society determines how or if it will address the reestablishment of the rule of law to what is now the reality of royal prerogative in the executive.

          While there is no formal system of deferment of criminal charges via a shield for civil or military service there has developed a strong disincentive for those that populate the institutions of justice both civil & military from bringing any charges that might detract from the status of the organization to which the person/s are involved.  This is the realization of a process whereby "loyalty to the institution" has been conflated with "protection of the institution from all negative news or publicity".  It is this operative condition that I am addressing from my observations from within the institutions of justice and national security where I spent my entire adult career.

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