If you've ever wanted to see in the courtroom goes to the ball under the legs of Bill Buckner in 1986, the World Series, we have seen today. U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton said a mistrial in the government's costly affair with the legendary pitcher Roger Clemens, who would have lied to Congress in February 2008 on the use of illegal steroids and performance enhancers. Miscarriage of justice does not preclude the process, but puts the government reopen a significant, if not irrevocable.
Prosecutors made a mistake by violating a judge's decision seriously Walton, prohibited the admission of the evidence spoke to the credibility of certain witnesses. The witnesses included former pitcher Andy Pettit - who was set to testify that Clemens admitted to using illegal performance enhancers - and his wife, Laura. Specifically, prosecutors allowed jurors to see a screen that displays the comments of the member Elijah Cummings, who spoke to the credibility of Pettit. It was a clear violation of the orders of Judge Walton. Comments should be redacted, but someone in the U.S. Attorney's Office or forgot to redact or tried to drag them in. Anyway, it was a mistake.
Judge Walton ruled mistrial because prosecutors in error, according to him, Clemens from getting a fair trial. Sixth amendment to the U.S. Constitution guarantees criminal defendants a fair trial and fast, in which an impartial jury. Here, the jury may have lost its impartiality, because he found the data can be improperly influenced in their opinions on the Pettittes and, indirectly, by Clemens. Tainted the jury is presumed to be able to operate fairly.
Judge Walton said he would be willing to hear the government's request for a new trial on September 2, but seemed skeptical of allowing a new trial. He suggested that a retrial would be double jeopardy. According to the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution bars repeated trial-specific processes for the same crime. For Clemens, to try again on charges of perjury and false testimony itself, especially because it relies on the same underlying hardware incriminating testimony in Congress, is likely to constitute double jeopardy.
The government can appeal the decision of Judge Walton in U.S. Court of Appeals DC Circuit, but do not expect to turn. Courts are very respectful to the way in which the trial judge control the process and how it takes decisions on the fairness of the trial.
For the Department of Justice, a mistrial Clemens, when combined with Barry Bonds escape conviction on all but one count of obstruction of justice, give rise to serious doubts about the wisdom of processing for baseball players perjury, suspected steroid use. Millions of tax dollars and thousands of hours of work are injected into the process. At a time when the federal government requires its citizens to sacrifice, perhaps the government should think more critically about how it allocates its resources to testing.
For Clemens, mistrial, it is highly unlikely that it will never convicted of the charges against him. This does not give the justification of a "not guilty" decision of a procedural error simply shows that the government fumbled the issue in a way that prevents a fair trial. For a pitcher so deeply interested in his baseball legacy he wanted to testify before Congress, a mistrial is not greatly help his chances of reaching the Hall of Fame.
Perhaps the biggest winner today is the much-maligned Rusty Hardin, who led the legal team Clemens', who deserves credit for the prosecutor to identify the error.