Local DAs use websites to strike back at press critics
Ever since the founding of the Republic, prosecutors have prosecutors, and newspaper editorial page writers have commented on these actions.
To put it mildly, Not all of these editorials have been complimentary.
But now, rather than mumble under their breath or write nasty letters to the editor, some district attorneys are using the Internet to state their case.
The National Law Journal reports that these officials are fighting back via their own postings on government web pages.
Sometimes, these reactions are not "one-offs, but an ongoing series.
Perhaps the most colorful example of this is "Every Lie They Print," a weekly column by Kern County (Calif.) District Attorney Edward Jagels.
Jagels is annoyed at the hometown Bakersfield Californian for its reporting of an appellate court's reversal of a murder conviction obtained by Jagels.
Laurie Levenson, who is a former prosecutor and currently a professor Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, put the matter in perspective for the Law Journal's Pamela MacLean.
They are just raising the stakes by taking on the paper through a Web page. Mark Twain was right -- 'Don't fight people who buy ink by the barrel,'" Levenson tells MacLean. "I love the fact the public remains more informed about what is going on in a prosecutor's office, but the question remains: How carefully monitored is it, and does it impact the right to a fair trial?"
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