Mississippi’s attorney general needs wiretap authority to enhance the office’s ability to investigate and prosecute criminals, whether they’re violent drug lords or suave and clever white-collar crooks.
The House last week amended a Senate bill to grant the authority after a separate bill died in committee earlier in the session. The Senate did not immediately accept the amendment, instead inviting negotiations with the House. The wiretap authority could face opposition in the Senate, especially from Republicans who criticize Hood for failure to prosecute white-collar crime among Hood’s political friends.
Legislators in both parties should rise above partisanship and give the attorney general’s office full investigative powers.
The issue is not Jim Hood or his so-far legal relationships with admitted federal felons Dickie Scruggs, Joey Langston and others involved in judicial bribery scandals.
The issue is effective work by any attorney general who has evidence warranting wiretaps in gathering evidence of wrongdoing.
Wiretaps aren’t new technology. The practice has been around since the 19th century and began as an illegal interception of telegraph messages from telegraph wires. It was first used in law enforcement on telephones in the early 20th century, and it has been widely credited with obtaining breakthrough evidence in the recent Scruggs investigation/prosecution.