Media heat on Hood seems inconsistent

While there is thus far no credible evidence of law-breaking, Hood does suffer from a rather severe case of foot-in-mouth disease. Many media outlets of all stripes have urged Hood to launch a state investigation to coincide with the federal judicial bribery probe.

Hood gave a lot of reasons for not doing so, but the explanation that drew the most attention was his proclamation that prosecuting Langston in particular would be like prosecuting relatives. Media outlets jumped on Hood for his apparent refusal to do his job.

Never mind that Hood quietly sent out letters to local district attorneys saying the resources of his office would be available should they want to prosecute in connection with the judicial bribery probe.

What Hood did not make clear in his public comments is that the federal officials are far more equipped with manpower and favorable laws to pursue the investigation. And if the state tried to get involved at this point, more than likely the feds would politely say stay out of our way.

While our system allows both state and federal prosecution for the same crime, it has always struck me as a bit unfair. It’s one thing to try someone for murder in state courts if the accused was convicted of a lesser crime in federal court. But to try the person for the same public corruption charge twice?

On occasion, people are tried in both federal and state courts for the same crime, though not often.
But where was the hue and cry when WorldCom Chief Executive Officer Bernie Ebbers was tried for securities fraud in federal court? Where was the outcry from members of the media to also try the Mississippi resident and Mississippi-based company in state court?

No doubt, the WorldCom failure had a far greater impact on Mississippians, who literally lost millions of dollars and in some cases their life savings because of the fraud.

Bobby Harrison
NE MS Daily Journal
3/11/8