Hood has forfeited any stature he might have in ferreting out corruption within the state’s justice system. A couple of days before his wiretapping proposal was rejected, he said that his office would not be pursuing a separate state investigation into the conduct of Richard “Dickey” Scruggs, Joey Langston and other plaintiffs’ lawyers implicated in a judicial bribery scandal because of Hood’s past close personal and financial ties to them. So far, the cases have been pursued solely by federal authorities.
Hood argues that few would take an investigation under his direction seriously, no matter what he turned up. That is true. But even though he personally shouldn’t handle such a probe due to obvious conflicts of interest, he could certainly appoint a special prosecutor, just like he’s hired outside lawyers to pursue civil cases for the state.
Hood instead pawns off the prosecuting responsibility to the district attorneys, knowing they’re unlikely to risk making enemies among what have been some of the richest, most powerful attorneys in the state.
Since Hood is saying that his friends, even those who have acknowledged their crookedness, are hands-off when it comes to his office, why should anyone trust him with wiretapping authority? If he’s only going to snoop on those who don’t give money to his campaign, such power could be easily abused.