AG Shapiro failed in Higgins’ case
On April 4, Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro issued a press release regarding criminal charges against Bedford County District Attorney William Higgins.
In his press release, Shapiro told us all the sordid details of the alleged conduct, which shocked the conscience of everyone.
The information provided included, among other things, allegations of years of conduct which allowed drugs to flow freely — including the very drugs that are fueling the worst drug epidemic ever.
It also included exposing police officers whose jobs are already tough enough. These officers must have confidence and trust in the office that prosecutes their cases.
Shapiro himself called Higgins’ conduct unconscionable and said his office would prosecute without fear or favor.
Now fast forward to May 30, and we saw Shapiro offer Higgins a perfect plea bargain that guarantees no jail time nor any felonies.
This deal reeks of favoritism.
Shapiro claimed a win and called the decision difficult. It should not have been that difficult.
The plea bargain offered should offend every person who sees it. Shapiro claims he offered the plea bargain to allow a quick healing for the area.
In my opinion, this is utter nonsense.
Shapiro’s plea bargain, in my opinion, shows a failing of the criminal justice system and a failure of an elected official to do what is right.
Let’s face it: If these acts were committed by any other citizen, they would surely face both felonies and jail time. Police officers have been jailed for far less actions.
By all accounts, if Higgins did what he was accused of, he was as complicit in allowing drugs to be dealt as the drug dealers themselves. He also potentially exposed law enforcement officers and confidential sources of information to potential injury and/or death.
His betrayal was unthinkable.
Bedford County and people surrounded by Bedford County deserved to see a person rightfully convicted and incarcerated for horrendous crimes.
If former AG Kathleen Kane was sentenced to 10 months in jail for leaking confidential information, surely Higgins should face a state sentence.
A guarantee of no jail time diminishes the seriousness of the crimes and does not deter people from committing the same egregious acts. Society rightfully demands and expects nothing less.
It is glaringly obvious that Shapiro, just like other elected attorney generals before him, loves the podium to bring attention to themselves and their political future.
It appears as if arrests and not convictions and justice motivate them. I have personally witnessed politicians grandstanding for their own benefit.
You cannot go out and talk tough about drugs and corruption and then later give out favorable deals to keep people from answering for the crimes they commit.
Prosecutors should not be concerned with what punishment is going to be handed out. That’s what judges are for.
True justice would come from the judge if he refuses the plea bargain and makes the punishment fit the crime.
Otherwise, the only thing that will be talked about for years was the deal Higgins received.
Chris “C.C.” Parker worked as an agent and supervisor for the Pennsylvania Office of Attorney General for 27 years, retiring in 2015.