Friday, July 09, 2010

Marie And The Magna Carta

Former Department Of Transportation chief Joseph Marie has now lawyered up, as the lawyers sometimes say.

It is supposed that he was urged out of his position by Governor Jodi Rell or, as some in the commentariat community may suppose, by her evil twin, chief gubernatorial aide Lisa Moody.

On an informal complaint of harassment, Marie was called on the carpet by a lawyer attached to Rell’s office, a pre-written statement was put in front of him, and he was told to sign it -- or else.

The statement was a resignation plus: If Marie would agree to resign and whisper not a word concerning his resignation to the media, the state, represented by Rell or demon Moody, as the case may be, would agree to let him go peaceful into that good night and whisper not a word concerning the real reason for his speedy departure, which was this: One of his associates had made an informal complaint alleging sexual harassment against Marie.

Here, half a dozen or more questions drum on Marie’s closed door: Who was the complainant? What was the nature of the sexual harassment? When did it occur? Was it a touchy feely thing, or a verbal thing? If verbal, what was said? Were there any corroborating witnesses? Why wasn’t a formal complaint made? How thorough was the nature of the cursory “investigation” that preceded Marie’s firing? Despite the falderal of signed agreements, it was a firing, was it not? These questions point only to the tip of the submerged iceberg that cost Marie his job.

If a formal complaint had been issued and Marie had been given the opportunity to respond the charges made against him – a simple rule of law that had been forced upon the too sovereign King John nearly eight centuries ago by the Magna Carta -- all the answers to the questions above, and more, would have been exposed to the disinfecting light of day. When you are trampling on what later came to be called the "due process" provisions of such an ancient and revered document as the Magna Carta, even a first year law student would not hesitate to warn that a sign had been by-passed before which free men ought to kneel:
 “No Free-man shall be taken, or imprisoned, or dispossessed, of his free tenement, or liberties, or free customs, or be outlawed, or exiled, or in any way destroyed; nor will we condemn him, nor will we commit him to prison, excepting by the legal judgment of his peers, or by the law of the land – To none will we sell, to none will we deny, to none will we delay right or justice.”

In order to protect an anonymous complainant and to assure the safety of others who worked with Marie, due process was shelved – with predictable results. A reporter having acquired relevant documents through a freedom of information complaint, the gentleman’s agreement between Rell, or demon Moody, and Marie quickly unraveled.

Rell, it was said by some commentators, was no gentlemen. Colin McEnroe – Courant columnist, blogger and CPR raconteur – said that Rell had “screwed him [Marie],” a sentiment quickly emblazoned in a banner headline over at “Capitol Report.” Gregory Hladky’s sensitive nose picked up the stench of corruption at the Hartford Advocate. Very shortly, the whole pack was in full bay.

It is group that knows how to howl but not always what to howl.

When Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was tramping though the countryside despoiling accused persons of their property and liberty without giving them the opportunity to answer in a timely manner the inflated charges he made in faulty press releases, and when in ex parte proceeding he used defective affidavits and trampled as destructively on the Magna Carta, the whole pack was contentedly silent.

They are silent still.
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