Republican candidates Stacy Hurst and David Meeks, to name just two, have adopted the popular tactic of calling defense lawyers soft on crime for providing legal counsel to the accused, something guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution.
It’s deplorable and un-American. But the tactic also puts a thumb on the scales of justice, particularly when deployed in judicial races, as was done against Tim Cullen in his race for Arkansas Supreme Court (likely financed by John Goodson, the big shot class action lawyer and husband of Justice Courtney Goodson who now has a financial stake in at least four of the seven members of Arkansas’s highest court).
Television ads attacking candidates for state supreme courts for being “soft on crime” affect more than just elections. A study released Tuesday by two Emory Law School professors and the American Constitution Society, a progressive legal group, finds evidence that they also make judges less likely to rule for criminal defendants in appellate cases.
The study, which examined more than 3,000 criminal cases in 32 states from 2008 through 2013, along with tallies of television ads maintained by the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, found that more television ads in state supreme court races meant an increased likelihood of rulings against criminal defendants. All 32 states studied have some form of voter approval of judges, either to elect them or to approve sitting judges.
No matter. Just ask Meeks or Hurst. If the police arrest someone, he is guilty and undeserving of a lawyer. Trial is just a technicality.