Mimesis Law
19 May 2019

District Attorney Dick Donovan “Writes” Eulogy For White Judeo Christian Men

andrew

November 9, 2016 (Fault Lines) — Block quotes are typically the signal of a lazy writer. In a legal brief, they can signify a “you read this damn thing and tell me what you think” attitude that can detract from credibility. But sometimes, things have to be provided in the original, in all their glorious quotability.

Here is what the elected District Attorney of Paulding County, Georgia, Dick Donovan, decided to post on the day of the election on his Facebook page:

“The American dream ended on November 6th, 2012 in Ohio. The second term of Barack Obama has been the final nail in the coffin for the legacy of the white Judeo-Christian males who discovered, explored, pioneered, settled and developed the greatest republic in the history of mankind.

A coalition of Blacks, Latinos, feminists, gays, government workers, union members, environmental extremists, the media, Hollywood, uninformed young people, the forever needy, the chronically unemployed, illegal aliens, and other fellow travelers has ended Norman Rockwell’s America.

You will never again outvote the people who gave Obama four more years. It will take individual acts of defiance and massive displays of civil disobedience to get back the rights we have allowed them to take away. It will take zealots, not moderates; zealots who will never ‘reach across the aisle’ to RINOs, to right this ship and restore our beloved Country to its former status.

He goes on to say that:

Those who come after us will once again  have to risk their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to bring back the Republic that this generation has timidly frittered away due to white guilt and political correctness… Sadly so.

Now, it should be noted that these are not entirely Dick Donovan’s original thoughts. The message is actually a rearranged version of a chain e-mail. It does not appear to have been merely copied and pasted. Rather, the District Attorney seems to have moved some of the paragraphs around for maximum impact. Writerly.

The Facebook post is now making the rounds, and Mr. Donovan has already issued a firm apology:

My recent post was quoting the Reverend Franklin Graham. I understand that others see this as a racist rant. It was certainly not intended as such, by either me or the Rev Graham. I’m appalled that virtually anything you post that mentions any minority in any light is considered either racist or bigoted. I do sincerely regret that political correctness is so pervasive.

There’s not much that can be added to what has already been said. This is the person who has the ultimate charging authority in Paulding County. He determines whether a crime will be a misdemeanor or a felony, or dismissed or discharged or nolle prossed. So instead of talking about what the man said, let’s talk for a second about legitimacy, and the perception of fairness.

See, our system of justice isn’t just about accurately determining who is guilty and who is innocent and of what. Of course, that’s one of its main goals, but that’s not all there is to it. We don’t convict without a hearing even when there is the most overwhelming evidence of guilt because one of the most important products of our system isn’t convictions or acquittals, it’s legitimacy.

Legitimacy, and the perception of fairness, is the basis for so many of the rules that governed our early Republic. Why do police have to specify what they’re looking for in a warrant? So the homeowner can be sure they’re not just fishing around for seditious documents. Why do we need a neutral magistrate to make sure that someone being held in jail has committed a crime? So we can be sure that someone isn’t just being locked up for a personal or a political grievance.

Every time a defendant steps into a courtroom, there is a persuasive process going on. That’s not just the lawyers trying to get the judge to rule one way or the other, or to get the jury to see the facts in a particular light. It’s to let the defendant feel heard (at a “hearing”). It’s to let others see that the defendant had a fair process. When that system goes right, people respond to process with more process—solving legal problems by filing motions and seeking counsel. When it goes wrong, violent resistance starts to seem like the only viable option.

When someone puts something like this out into the world, the persuasive process gets a lot harder. It is often difficult to persuade minority clients that a white lawyer cares what happens to them. That public defenders aren’t just agents of the State meant to smooth out the conviction process. A statement like isn’t going to seem like just a one-off mistake to those clients. It’s going to seem like someone has pulled back the curtain on some vast and racist legal machine.

Once a prosecutor loses legitimacy, he can no longer fulfill his function. He can never again plausibly claim that he is acting neutrally, without fear or favor. His every action will be scrutinized for bias. The problem with Mr. Donovan’s statements isn’t political correctness or white guilt. It’s that speech has consequences.

2 Comments on this post.

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  • Scott Key
    9 November 2016 at 8:31 am - Reply

    Alas, I’m afraid that his views may actually be quite mainstream judging by yesterday’s election results. This time yesterday, I’d have thought Mr. Donovan to be an anachronism.

    • Andrew Fleischman
      13 November 2016 at 2:57 pm - Reply

      Still, I’d love to find a way to work this post into voir dire. “How many people here agree with these sentiments?”