Archive for February 11th, 2011
For the next week or two, WC will be revisiting earlier posts to Wickersham’s Conscience. For most readers, these older essays will be new. For those who have read them, well, WC thinks they are good enough to be worth reading again.
When WC went to school in Chicago, his Criminal Law professor was the late Fred (“the Cop”) Inbau. He was law enforcement all the way through; his books were cited by the Warren court as examples of abusive interrogation techniques in Miranda. This was in the waning days of the Daley political machine, and the Cook County corruption was pretty fierce. U.S. Attorney Jim Thompson was making a name for himself busting up the Machine.
One spring morning we woke to the news that the entire Chicago Avenue Police Precinct – the precinct WC lived in – had been indicted. Every single cop. From the lowliest patrolman to the precinct captain. A very shaken Professor Inbau, the friend of policemen everywhere, didn’t talk about criminal law that morning. Instead, he told us, “Don’t suck the sugar tit.” It’s Chicago street slang. He meant that when someone asks you to compromise your principles, even a little, in return for a little favor, turn them down. Turn them down every time. He meant if you say yes, just once, you can never say no.
All this comes to mind because it’s completely clear that in Alaska, for the last ten years, Bill Allen has been the man with the sugar tit, and an appalling number of elected officials have failed to say, “No.” Former House Speaker Pete Kott, the hapless Tom Anderson, Vic Kohring; all found guilty. The late Ted Stevens, the most important political figure in Alaska’s history, found guilty (although he escaped for prosecution misconduct). John Cowdery and Bruce Weyhrauch (a former colleague of WC’s) indicted and awaiting trial. Likely indictments against Ted Stevens’ son, Ben Stevens, if the Feds can ever get their act together. Former Governor Murkowski’s chief of staff, Jim Clark, pled guilty. All took a taste of the sugar tit; Bill Allen took them all down.
On a lesser scale, Bill Weimar has been a man with some sugar, trying to get that private prison and put another megabuck or two in his pocket. He reported to Sheridan on January 5, after pleading to two felonies. He’s now on the lam from a charge of child molestation. He may yet take down a couple more ex-pols, possibly including Jerry Ward.
Let WC put it as starkly as he can: you taste the sugar tit just once and you face life with jerks like Bill Allen crowing on the FBI video tapes, “I own you, buddy. You’re mine.” Not fun.
You have to have your standards figured out before the sugar daddy comes calling. You have to listen to your gut when the sugar daddy makes the pitch. You have to say no. You have to mean it. Otherwise, you can never say no and you might as well book your room at the Federal pen now.