Inspection- Pleading the 5th May Mean You’re INNOCENT

by Ken Carman

   Re: Lois Lerner and the 5th…

 ”If she’s not guilty, why did she plead the 5th?” asked the right wing caller, “She must be guilty of something.”

  Did they ask and claim the same when Ollie North pleaded the 5th?
  Look, I thought Ollie was guilty as hell, as I’m sure some on the right think Lois is. But pleading the 5th may well mean you’re innocent. But if you don’t agree answer these questions as if I were a prosecutor. I will prevent you from answering anything but, “Yes,” or “No,” which sometimes is necessary in court proceedings, but most of the time is a fraudulent form of “gotcha.”
1. “Did you stop beating your neighbor?”
2. “Have you stopped abusing little kids?”
“Yes” or “No.” No explanations, no complaints. Just “Yes,” or “No.”
  Unfair?
  Hell, yeah. But folks who think court proceedings are nothing more than pursuit of the truth are ignorant indeed, especially in high profile cases. This especially goes for proceedings like those run by Darrell Issa who insisted on being provided only the stats on Tea Bag organizations that had been investigated by the IRS, then turned around and claimed it was only Tea Bag organizations that were investigated. It wasn’t, but we found this out after Mr. Issa started up his witch hunt.
  Not new behavior for a man who shut downs proceedings when suddenly it’s no longer only about the BS talking points he wishes to pontificate on, only about the smears and lies he wants in the record.
  Ah, memories of Ken Starr.
  But, partisan jabs aside; common knowledge that any simpleton would know should make it obvious pleading the 5th doesn’t mean guilt or innocence. Pleading the 5th addresses a flaw in the justice system. The fact folks, even in jury boxes, people keep insisting using the 5th means proof of guilt shows the flaw is still a serious problem.
  The prosecutor’s job is to get a conviction. The defense attorney’s job is to get an acquittal. If either can get a witness to say something that implicates the defendant, or puts into question the guilt of the defendant, they are doing their job. And anyone who claims to think sleazy tactics aren’t used sometimes, like shutting down testimony for slimy, convenient, reasons, is either lying or incredibly stupid.
  Yes, in most cases, a defense attorney, or a prosecutor, can step up and try to alter perceptions, but once the spell is cast clean up is indeed tough, if not impossible. Especially when you have someone like Issa who refuses to let someone talk who might offer a view that doesn’t paint his unholy jihad in bright, friendly, positive hues. Or, considering he seems to think investigating is his only job, should I have typed “jihads?” Yes Darrell is all about getting folks framed who “just happen” to not agree with him, especially if they are anyway connected to a certain president whose last name is Obama.
  But if you are a right winger I’m sure it won’t be hard to find those you support who have pleaded the 5th for similar reasons, or you claim did. Isn’t that right, Ollie?
  So can we please stop the “they must be guilty if they pleaded the 5th” meme? Yes, indeed-e-do, they could be. But pleading the 5th only proves they are using their constitutional right to do so.
 Do you believe in the Constitution?
 Or do you believe in the Constitution only when it suits your partisan needs?

                                    -30-

Inspection is a column that has been written by Ken Carman for over 30 years. Inspection is dedicated to looking at odd angles, under all the rocks and into the unseen cracks and crevasses that constitute the issues and philosophical constructs of our day: places few think, or even dare, to venture.
©Copyright 2014
Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
All Rights Reserved