Two developments today in the secretive attack on Arkansas Supreme Court candidate Tim Cullen by a shadowy Virginia outfit that has a history of intervening with secretly financed ads in judicial races.
Cullen’s opponent, Appeals Court Judge Robin Wynne, disavowed any association with the ad, though the campaign stopped short of disavowing all the content, which rips Cullen for doing appellate defense work for a man convicted on child porn charges. Cullen tried unsuccessfully to have his sentenced reduced from an enhancement granted by the judge.
The association of criminal defense lawyers sharply criticized the big TV buy by the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, a group that has refused to put a named spokesman up to talk about the ad.
From Wynne’s campaign:
The Judge Robin Wynne for Supreme Court campaign learned yesterday that an out of state organization, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America, had purchased television time to air two commercials. One commercial featured
Judge Wynne and the second, the other candidate in the race.
“Neither Judge Wynne nor his campaign had any knowledge or involvement with this purchase or the subject matter of the commercials. We had produced our own campaign commercial that began running on the first day of early voting.
Our commercial focuses on Judge Wynne’s experience and qualifications. We have run a positive campaign and will continue to do so,” said Linda Napper, the Wynne campaign’s consultant.
Frpm the defense bar:
While the Arkansas Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (AACDL) does not endorse or oppose any candidates for office in any branch of government, AACDL does strongly deplore attacks on any attorney, including candidates representing any political party or ideology, arising out of the attorney’s representation of clients in criminal matters.
The PAC political ad attacking Tim Cullen, paid for by Law Enforcement Alliance of America, criticizing Cullen for his advocacy on behalf of a client, is designed to undermine the United States Constitution and demonstrates a fundamental misunderstanding of the American system of justice.
Our system of justice works because it requires “powerful statements on both sides of the question.” United States v. Cronic, 466 U.S. 648, 655 (1984).
This is the entire premise of the Sixth Amendment’s right to counsel in the United States: “The very premise of our adversary system of criminal justice is that partisan advocacy on both sides of a case will best promote the ultimate objective that the guilty be convicted and the innocent go free.” Herring v. New York, 422 U.S. 853, 862 (1975).
It is also a vital part of American constitutional history. In fact, John Adams represented British soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trial of 1770 because he believe a mob mentality was going to overtake the trial. After he was President (1797-1801), he said that representing them “was … one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country.” And he was President when he said that. No lawyer should be criticized for whomever he or she chooses to represent. It is fundamentally unAmerican.
AACDL President Justin Eisele said: “Nobody likes criminal defense lawyers until they need one. Our United States Constitution provides every accused person with a lawyer. The founders of our country, through the Bill of Rights, established that no man or woman would stand alone when facing imprisonment by the government. To challenge the qualifications of a judicial candidate for fulfilling a constitutional mandate of a person’s right to counsel is to belittle one of the core beliefs of this country.”