Chickens come home to roost, and little piggies eventually come back to — I don't know. Wallow?
My point is that, sometimes, good triumphs over evil, and rights triumph over rights-violators. That occasional taste of sweet victory keeps the good guys up for the ongoing fight.
Today's example are two little piggies named Junius Peake and Susan Knox.
I wrote about them before, twice. In brief: Junius Peake was a professor at University of Northern Colorado. Student Thomas Mink wrote what was obviously, overtly, clearly, inarguably a parody (and, frankly, a rather mild and inoffensive one) about Professor Peake in a publication called The Howling Pig. Junius Peake reacted not like an adult, not as a university professor should, but like a loser. Junius Peake called the cops. And Deputy District Attorney Susan Knox, showing either wanton malice or a shocking lack or ethics, perspective, and mental ability, approved a search warrant for Thomas Mink's home on the theory that a university student's obvious satire constituted "criminal libel." Thomas Mink sued. Susan Knox repeatedly lost in the appellate court.
Now the last little piggie run weeee, weeee, weeeeee all the way home. As reported by The Fire, the Student Press Law Center, and the ACLU, Susan Knox (who, fortunately, is no longer a prosecutor [edit: see below]) has coughed up $425,000 rather than risk a third smackdown by the Tenth Circuit.
This is a gigantic victory. Rogue prosecutors, as a rule, escape without consequences when they violate even the most clearly defined constitutional rights. That's why the rare cases in which rogue prosecutors do face consequences are so sweet.
Congrats to Thomas Mink and his lawyers. Fighting prosecutorial miscreants can take many years, as in this case. But if we want the system to change, we need to be ready to chase bad actors like Susan Knox to the very gates of Hell.
Edited to add: in the comments, someone points out that she may be an AUSA now. CRAP.
Last 5 posts by Ken White
- A Response To Marc: Institutions, Agendas, and the "Culture War" - January 13th, 2016
- Lawyering Is About Service, Not Self-Actualization - January 11th, 2016
- Lawsplainer: Was FAU Prof. James Tracy Fired in Violation of His First Amendment Rights? - January 7th, 2016
- Defy, Defy, Defy. - January 7th, 2016
- President Obama And The Rhetoric Of Rights - January 5th, 2016