Justice Denied


The Third Circuit has denied Dr. Bernard Rottschaefer's appeal.

For background, read my column on the initial prosecution of Rottschaefer here.

The justices declined to hear oral arguments in the case and, judging by the curt opinion, it looks as if they didn't bother to read the briefs, either. Rottschaefer's lawyers put together a compelling appeal with new evidence that every government witness against Rottschaefer gave false or misleading testimony. The Third Circuit dismissed those claims in all of two-and-a-half pages.

Incidentally, U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan's star witness in the case against Rottschaefer, Jennifer Riggle, is currently a fugitive from justice for other crimes. The career criminal admitted in letters to her boyfriend that she lied on the stand during Rottschaefer's trial as part of a plea for leniency on her own charges. To this day, Buchanan maintains that despite all of that, Riggle was telling the truth on the stand and Rottschaefer–a doctor with no prior record whatsoever–was lying.

Meanwhile, instead of prosecuting Riggle for her admitted perjury in Rottschaefer's case, Buchanan has taken to more important matters, like prosecuting a woman for writing fictional (though admittedly depraved) stories on the Internet. Even a former Republican attorney general has called for her to resign, due to her baldly political prosecution in another case. Buchanan also brought the absurd bong case against Tommy Chong, and the first federal obscenity case in 20 years. She may not give a damn about justice, but she's got a nose for the headlines.

She won't resign, of course. It's no secret in Pennsylvania that Buchanan's angling for a career in politics. She certainly seems to have the moral compass for it.