Thursday, July 12, 2007

Deflecting Liability?

Brian Wells, the Erie Pennsylvania Pizza deliveryman at the center of the collar bomber case, was detained by police for more than 40 minutes before the device exploded.  Imagine you're in the policemen's shoes: frightened, apprehensive, never seen anything remotely like this, unsure of what to do, etc.

The bomb squad wasn't called for 32 minutes into the ordeal. 

Now unsealed indictments paint Wells as a willing coconspirator.  We'll never know for sure.  Wells was killed by the bomb.  His family has been given the silent treatment by officials from the beginning, an arrogant arms-length approach that antagonizes them.

For what purpose?  Law enforcement is clearly hostile to the family.  Why?  Is it because they are engaging in CYA shennanigans?  If a mother, for example, were to bring a lawsuit for wrongful death against the law enforcement agency that neglected to call the appropriate experts until it was far too late, in an emergency, she would have a much, much stronger case if the victim was an innocent hostage, rather than a willing co-conspirator. 

By naming Brian Wells a co-conspirator, prosecutors have eviscerated any civil action the family might bring for negligence on the part of law enforcement.  This is the circle-the-wagons approach in goverment that we see time and again--especially when lawsuits are likely.

Of course, Brian Wells might factually be a coconspirator, but he'll never have a chance to defend himself.  It will never be proven or disproven, but will sit in legal limbo until a civil action commences.  The cloud of that uncertainty will allow the state's defense attorney to make mincemeat out of the plaintiff's case.

And there's the matter of Well's previous association with Deihl-Armstrong's boyfriend Barnes.  That's circumstantial evidence that really stinks.

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