Thursday, May 24, 2012

The Feds and Denny Hecker

Denny Hecker is the most celebrated felon in contemporary Minnesota. The crown gets passed along from one bad guy to another, for awhile it adorned the brow of T. Eugene Thompson a local attorney found guilty of killing his wife. The  holder of the crown prior to Hecker was a woman, Kathleen Soliah/Sarah Jane Olson, who had managed to graduate from the ranks of sixties lefty terrorists to the comfortable life of the spouse of a St. Paul doctor before being found out.

 Hecker's case is interesting, not because of his extensive business interests and public profile but because of the actual issues involved. Hecker was personally on the hook with Chrysler Financial and others for $767 million. In a common business maneuver, he declared bankruptcy. This didn't work out because he failed to turn over everything he owned to federal bankruptcy court and his ex-wife. That made the feds angry. He was sentenced, at age 59, to 10 years in the federal slammer.

 Then, Denny made the authorities even more angry. Without their permission, he married his girlfriend, Christi Rowan, removing her from the list of those getting subpoenas to testify to where Denny's remaining assets might be hidden. Later, in a federal prison camp near Duluth, Hecker was found to have a cell phone, a violation of prison rules that began his bus journey through the federal prison system.

The federal prison system, or actually any modern prison system, is impregnable.  Nothing can enter or leave it without the permission of the authorities.  That's a fact.  The only way that Denny Hecker can get his hands on a cell phone in a federal prison camp is if an administrator or guard allows it to happen.  Thus if Denny's getting punished, shouldn't there be some kind of investigation, and a well-publicized one at that, to discover how such a thing could occur?  Shouldn't we hear about some screw losing his job and going to the joint himself for this breach of security?  Well, no, we shouldn't.  It's common knowledge that for considerations prisoners can get just about anything in prison, especially drugs.  This can only be  possible with the cooperation, maybe actually the initiative of the staff.  They're bigger crooks than the inmates.

Anyway, what's really going on here is this:  the feds, in their several different capacities, upset about the Hecker defiance, have set Denny up.  The cell phone, probably provided by them to begin with, is the first excuse they need to engage in a subtle form of Soviet-style behavior modification, maybe you could call it torture, in an effort to both subjugate what remains of his independence and entrepreneurial spirit and to get him to reveal what and where might remain of his fortune.

We're not talking about punishment here, or rehab, or even setting an example to others.  We're talking about institutional sadism.  Let's make this guy, who has never actually done any physical harm to anyone, suffer as much as we can because he declined to submit.  That's what it's really all about.

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