So Not Worth It, Or Is it? Clemens, Armstrong, & Anthony

Jonathan Mahler, he of the New York Times, and a host of others who crowd the web and bend the Barometer’s ear, wonder why the federal government pursues cases such as those against Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds, and, now, Lance Armstrong. Mr. Clemens’ recent mistrial finds glee among, well, the Barometer is not really sure who to count among those who like to see prosecutors fail, except a goodly portion of defense lawyers employed as commentators on the Casey Anthony case.
Be that as it may, the issue is not that prosecutors failed or the troubling expressions of glee from the ha-ha-you-can’t-catch-and-convict-me crowd, led my Casey Anthony wherever she may be. The issue is one raised by Mr. Mahler, “Is it worth trying to prove?”

When a toddler disappears without explanation by anyone or notification of authorities by cherub’s mother, it is indeed worth a murder trial because we care about innocent victims. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, and sometimes you get a jury that finds reasonable doubt in a scenario that requires a willing suspension of all reason. A tot grabbed two Hefty trash bags, couple of Care Bear stickers, and some duct tape, and toddled down to the swamp where she met her fate?

Likewise, when someone such as Mr. Clemens, who was thrown under the bus by everyone except his media constituency, denies use of HGH to the point of a comedy routine, it is worth pursuing. Also, when someone such as Lance Armstrong, who managed to have his media constituency and the gullible all wearing yellow “Live Strong” bracelets, is also under the bus by those swirling around him for crossing a line, well, it is worth it.

So, when and why exactly is it worth it? It’s worth it if the prosecutors and investigators are applying the same standards to Clemens, Armstrong, and even Anthony that they apply in those cases that never see a smidgeon of media coverage. This nation has as a cornerstone, “And justice for all.” Sometimes the justice comes from court proceedings. Sometimes the justice comes from having to be held accountable for actions after a long-term sports existence that found immunity from the rules because, well, “I’m me.” And the latter brings some justice even in mistrials and acquittals.

Mr. Mahler concludes, “Our nation’s values are not at stake.” Actually, yes, they are if investigators and prosecutors do not apply the same standards to all. The Barometer could walk Mr. Mahler threw a few low-profile cases that seemed to be a great deal of work for the end results. Mr. Mahler missed the big picture. Justice is this nation’s grand value. We pursue it even when it proves elusive. Heaven help us when we lose sight of that because we want to move on and “it’s just not that important in this case.” Justice is important in every case. We pursue that goal, regardless of cost, defeat, or, thankfully, the opinion of the masses and media.

About mmjdiary

Professor Marianne Jennings is an emeritus professor of legal and ethical studies from the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University, retiring in 2011 after 35 years of teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in ethics and the legal environment of business. During her tenure at ASU, she served as director of the Joan and David Lincoln Center for Applied Ethics from 1995-1999. In 2006, she was appointed faculty director for the W.P. Carey Executive MBA Program. She has done consulting work for businesses and professional groups including AICPA, Boeing, Dial Corporation, Edward Jones, Mattel, Motorola, CFA Institute, Southern California Edison, the Institute of Internal Auditors, AIMR, DuPont, AES, Blue Cross Blue Shield, Motorola, Hy-Vee Foods, IBM, Bell Helicopter, Amgen, Raytheon, and VIAD. The sixth edition of her textbook, Case Studies in Business Ethics, was published in February 2011. The ninth edition of her textbook, Business: lts Legal, Ethical and Global Environment was published in January 2011. The 23rd edition of her book, Business Law: Principles and Cases, will be published in January 2013. The tenth edition of her book, Real Estate Law, will also be published in January 2013. Her book, A Business Tale: A Story of Ethics, Choices, Success, and a Very Large Rabbit, a fable about business ethics, was chosen by Library Journal in 2004 as its business book of the year. A Business Tale was also a finalist for two other literary awards for 2004. In 2000 her book on corporate governance was published by the New York Times MBA Pocket Series. Her book on long-term success, Building a Business Through Good Times and Bad: Lessons from Fifteen Companies, Each With a Century of Dividends, was published in October 2002 and has been used by Booz, Allen, Hamilton for its work on business longevity. Her latest book, The Seven Signs of Ethical Collapse was published by St. Martin’s Press in July 2006 and has been a finalist for two book awards. Her weekly columns are syndicated around the country, and her work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Reader's Digest. A collection of her essays, Nobody Fixes Real Carrot Sticks Anymore, first published in 1994 is still being published. She has been a commentator on business issues on All Things Considered for National Public Radio. She has served on four boards of directors, including Arizona Public Service (1987-2000), Zealous Capital Corporation, and the Center for Children with Chronic Illness and Disability at the University of Minnesota. She was appointed to the board of advisors for the Institute of Nuclear Power Operators in 2004 and served on the board of trustees for Think Arizona, a public policy think tank. She has appeared on CNBC, CBS This Morning, the Today Show, and CBS Evening News. In 2010 she was named one of the Top 100 Thought Leaders in Business Ethics by Trust Across America. Her books have been translated into four different languages. She received the British Emerald award for authoring one of their top 50 articles in management publications, chosen from over 15,000 articles. Personal: Married since 1976 to Terry H. Jennings, Maricopa County Attorney’s Office Deputy County Attorney; five children: Sarah, Sam, and John, and the late Claire and Hannah Jennings.
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