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Ohio State Football and Our Broken Justice System Have a Lot in Common

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Author 13717
Message Roger Shuler

Even William E. Swatek, the McGarity lawyer who has a 30-year history of ethical violations with the Alabama State Bar, spouts off about religion. After Swatek was acquitted of perjury charges in the early 1980s--and court documents indicate the prosecution had tape-recorded, irrefutable evidence that he was guilty--Swatek told a local newspaper that his belief in Psalm 37 helped him survive the ordeal. (Request vomit bag here.)

The 40-verse Psalm begins: "Fret not thyself because of evildoers, neither be thou envious against the workers of iniquity." Bill Swatek referring to others as "evildoers" and "workers of iniquity"? That takes some serious chutzpah.

Bill Swatek was a religious phony long before the world had heard of Jim Tressel. Maybe Tressel needs to become a lawyer and join an Alabama firm. He would fit right in.

Weak oversight--We repeatedly have shown on this blog that one of the biggest problems in our justice is a lack of oversight. At both the state and federal levels, appellate courts are supposed to be the watchdogs, the ones who make sure trial courts get it right. But too often higher courts are primarily interested in covering up wrongdoing by their trial-court brethren. Blatantly unlawful findings are affirmed, often with no opinion. Trial judges who have acted in a corrupt fashion, and violated the oath of office, are not reported--even though lawyers are required to report misconduct of other lawyers.

Similar blindness is present in the Ohio State story. Tressel had an alarming history of non-compliance while he was at Youngstown State, long before he became Ohio State's head coach in 2001. From the SI article:

In February 2000, 11 months before Ohio State hired Tressel, Youngstown State acknowledged numerous football violations and announced self-imposed sanctions, including the loss of two scholarships. Because it was satisfied with those steps and its statute of limitations on the violations had run out, the NCAA allowed Youngstown to keep the '91 national title, one of four Tressel won with the Penguins.

During his 15 years at Youngstown State, Tressel left a substantial trail that pointed to only one conclusion: He was a rogue coach. But he won a bunch of games, so YSU never punished him and Ohio State was quick to hire him.

Blaming the victim--What almost always happens when an individual stands up to a corrupt judge or lawyer? The legal establishment promptly labels him a "disgruntled litigant." Ask anyone who truly has been cheated by the justice system and tried to fight back. They almost certainly have heard that phrase.

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I live in Birmingham, Alabama, and work in higher education. I became interested in justice-related issues after experiencing gross judicial corruption in Alabama state courts. This corruption has a strong political component. The corrupt judges are (more...)
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