More On: The law
We can't let it be used as a stick against the people and interests it's supposed to defend.
The recently finished Kyle Rittenhouse case isn't the only example of the necessity to keep an eye on prosecutors. Over the last 50 years, America's courtrooms have evolved into a battleground where some of society's most divisive issues are resolved, whether they belong there or not.
Justice is meant to be the first priority for the government, which comprises judges, attorneys general, and prosecutors. It has the capability. Conviction still requires proof of guilt. In each trial, the assumption of innocence is maintained. It should, at the very least. It's difficult to say what happened in Wisconsin, where the district attorney concealed crucial evidence from Mr. Rittenhouse's lawyer and even pointed the firearm Mr. Rittenhouse used to defend himself against three assaults at the jury.
The Rittenhouse case is one of several where, for political or economic reasons, the government brought matters to the bar that should never have been tested by twisting and tugging the interpretation of the law until it looked like taffy.
Mike Hunter, then-Attorney General of Oklahoma, decided to go after the pharmaceutical business a few years ago. He thought the company's marketing techniques were to blame for the opioid epidemic that the state was currently dealing with, and that the company was breaking the state's public nuisance legislation by stating the medications were less addictive and harmful than some assert.
The other businesses targeted chose to settle, but Johnson & Johnson, the pharmaceutical behemoth whose products can be found in nearly every American home, elected to go to trial, resulting in the first big case against an opioid producer to reach a jury.
Mr. Hunter originally sought $17 billion in damages. In a non-jury trial, Thad Balkman, the judge in the court of original jurisdiction, decided in favor of the plaintiff and ordered J&J to pay $465 million into a state fund intended to tackle the opioid problem.
J&J took the issue to the Oklahoma Supreme Court, which concluded that the attorney general's office and the outside lawyers involved had abused the public nuisance legislation in filing and fighting the case, by a vote of 5 to 1.
“We hold that the district court’s expansion of public nuisance law went too far,” Justice James Winchester wrote for the majority. “Oklahoma public nuisance law does not extend to the manufacturing, marketing, and selling of prescription opioids.”
Corporate America's vast finances have been a target of the left since the 1930s, if not earlier. It can't tolerate seeing all that money go to making items that people all around the globe desire, to see working-class living standards rise, and for retirees and others who invested in those firms to enjoy decent returns on their investments. They want everyone to be reliant on the government, and they're determined to take what they can't get from job creators in taxes through other ways.
The exploitation of a public nuisance legislation to win financing for anti-drug activities in Oklahoma is as egregious as a Wisconsin prosecutor's attempt to destroy Kyle Rittenhouse's right to self-defense in the middle of a riot, at least by legal standards. We cannot allow the law to be used as a cudgel against the persons and interests it is supposed to protect, as Mr. Bumble put it.