On Taking the Shot
Having said what we said about Mr. Bahrara’s case in our previous post, let us now describe how it might be seen in a different light.
We were at an event a while ago in which Eliot Spitzer was fielding questions from an audience of law students. He was asked: Did you ever advance a case secretly thinking it had little chance of winning?
He said there was only one such time. It was lawsuit against gun manufacturers.
He explained that his staff had determined that the handguns used in 42 percent of violent crimes in New York City could be traced to half dozen gun retailers in the region surrounding the city. He said that the guns sold by these stores were designed for crime. The guns were cheap and had features like fingerprint resistant grips and triggers, and serial numbers that could easily be altered.
Spitzer said that even though it was a long shot to try to connect the gun manufacturers to the crimes that occurred with guns they produced, he still wanted to bring a “public nuisance” case against them. He said the fact pattern was so egregious that he felt compelled to bring the case and argue it himself in front of the judge, and he did.
Digression: This was another one of those moments when we could only grimace and shake our heads at the sad contradiction of Spitzer. He is an eloquent person capable of remarkable sophistication in conceiving of new ways to use the law to affect positive change, but he couldn’t avoid the basest, dumbest personal conduct.
Back to Mr. Bahrara: Is it possible that he is doing something now that is akin to what Spitzer did then? Is it possible that he knows that the Silver case is a stretch, but he brought it anyway reasoning that without it, a system inherently prone to conflict and abuse would never change?
It’s interesting to note that one of the key lawyers involved in Spitzer’s gun case is the lead on Bahrara’s case against Silver.
Perhaps Mr. Bahrara’s motivation was to do something, anything to shake up the system, and if so, we give him credit for having gumption and balls to do so. But our admiration is tempered by concern over the precedent it sets (see previous post) and by the destabilizing effects of the action. It really is chaos now in Albany.