Steve ( Do you know who I am?) Descano is the Soros-backed Fairfax County, Virginia prosecutor who makes sweetheart plea deals with child molesters and rapists. Local judges are less than pleased with his soft-on-crime approach, and one of them refused to go along with a Descano deal under which the sex-offender who raped a girl four times would have received a sentence of only three years.
But when it comes to the police officers — the folks charged with protecting people from perverts and other criminals — Descano transforms himself into a gung-ho prosecutor. Unfortunately for him, but happily for the public, at least one judge isn’t fond of this incarnation of Descano, either.
In the case in question, Descano decided to prosecute two U.S. Park Police officers who fatally shot a motorist who was driving his care towards one of them. When the U.S. Justice Department declined to charge the officers, Descano stepped in and had them indicted on charges of involuntary manslaughter and reckless use of a fire arm.
But federal officers have immunity from state prosecution if their actions are “necessary and proper” and are undertaken as part of their duties. Accordingly, this week U.S. District Judge Claude Hilton, after finding that the actions of the two officers met this standard, dismissed the charges against them.
The facts of the case are as follows: Bijan Ghaisar was involved in an accident on the GW Parkway in Northern Virginia. He drove away, but a passenger in the other car called 911 to report the accident.
Two park police officers spotted Ghaisar’s car and signaled for him to pull over. Ghaisar initially complied, but then drove off.
The officers pursued Ghaisar and he pulled over a second time. Again, however, he drove off.
The officers caught up with Ghaisar again, and this time they blocked his car from pulling away. As one of the officers stood in front of Ghaisar’s vehicle with his gun drawn, Ghaisar rolled it forward towards the officer. At that point, the two Park Policemen fired multiple shots, mortally wounding Ghaisar.
Judge Hilton found that the officers reasonably feared for the life of the officer towards whom Ghaisar’s vehicle “lurched.” The reasonableness of that fear was bolstered by Ghaisar’s reckless driving, suggestive of intoxication, and the fact that he twice drove away after initially pulling over.
This, I take it, was also the view of the Justice Department when it decided not to prosecute the two officers. Police officers can’t be expected to stand by while an erratic, non-compliant driver rolls his car towards one of them.
That, though, is what Descano demands. He’ll throw the book at police officers placed in that position due to a suspect’s criminal behavior, even as he cuts sweetheart deals with child molesters and rapists.
The Washington Post’s report on this case tilts strongly in favor of Descano and Ghaisar. The bias of Post reporter Tom Jackman is clear throughout the article, and extends to a gratuitous discussion of Judge Hilton.
Jackman notes that Hilton is 80 years old. So what? Ruth Bader Ginsburg was 87 and still serving on the Supreme Court. I don’t recall the Post citing her age in discussing her opinions. If Ginsburg could interpret the U.S. Constitution at age 87, why is there a problem with Hilton applying the immunity standard at age 80?
Jackman also reviews Hilton’s pre-judge career. It notes that he was a prosecutor for two years early in his career and once represented a sheriff in a civil rights case.
Is it now the Post’s view that judges can’t rule justly in criminal cases if they have ever served as prosecutors or represented a law enforcement official? If so, what about all those “civil rights” lawyers Joe Biden is appointing to federal courts. How can we expect them to rule fairly in civil rights cases.
If not, why is Post telling us, for example, that Judge Hilton “spent a year as an assistant prosecutor in Arlington soon after graduating from law school” in the 1960s? I believe the Post is telling us telling us this because, like Descano, it is anti-cop and anti-law enforcement.
The petition by Virginians for Safe Communities to remove Steve Descano is here.