Let me be perfectly clear about this: Scott Andringa tried to put a paraplegic man in prison for 25 years for having too many pain pills.
This happened a few years ago, and obviously the story is a bit more complicated than I can summarize in that one sentence, but that’s basically what happened. The paraplegic man is named Richard Paey. He’s been in a car accident, he’s suffered through failed back surgery, and he has multiple sclerosis. Without medication, he’d be in a lot of pain. And he’d still be in jail thanks to prosecutor Scott Andringa if Governor Charlie Crist hadn’t pardoned him.
Given the kinds of things I blog about, I hear a lot of stories about prosecutors who do crazy evil shit like this. (For example, I just wrote about U.S. Attorney Tanya Treadway, who abused the grand jury system to harass Siobhan Reynolds and shutdown her pain management advocacy organization.) I worry that they’ll get away with it–no, that’s not quite right. I know they’ll get away with it. They’re prosecutors: They have immunity. What I’m really worried about is that they’ll thrive.
In my imagination, people who commit these kinds of atrocites are shunned. They have a hard time finding employment, and when they walk down the street, old ladies spit on the sidewalk in front of them, and mothers make their children cross the street so as not to pass too close.
In reality, of course, such behavior rarely has any consequences, and these people often have long careers in public life. States Attorney Janet Reno was at the heart of the Satanic sexual abuse panic down in Florida, and yet President Bill Clinton appointed her as U.S. Attorney General. Both Rudy Giuliani and Eliot Spitzer used their prosecutorial offices as platforms for self-aggrandizement, eventually becoming mayor and governor of their respective New Yorks. And former U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Buchanan may have lost her bid for Congress, but we probably haven’t seen the last of her.
So whenever I read about some outrageous behavior by a prosecutor, I worry that if nobody pays attention, they’ll just turn up again in public service somewhere to cause even more damage. At one point, I even tried to start a web site to keep track of these people, so that we’ll recognize them when they pop up again, and have information about the crap they’ve pulled. It never really worked out, so I’m left trying to lure search engines by blogging about things like how Scott Andringa tried to put a paraplegic man in prison for 25 years for having too many pain pills.
I’m bringing all this up because look what Scott Andringa’s been up to:
On Monday, December 13th, 2010, Scott Andringa; 42, a member of The Florida Bar since 1993, announced his candidacy for Pinellas County Judge, Group 2, in the 2012 election.
Gee, I wonder who holds that position now? Oh yeah, it’s Henry J. Andringa, who happens to be Scott’s father.
In a terrific post at Res Publica, blogger Spartacus Thrace at Res Publica has far more detail about Scott Andringa and his run for office:
Among the elected officials in Pinellas County up for election in 2012 is Judge of the County Court, Group 2, a seat currently occupied by Henry J. “Hank” Andringa, who is expected to retire in 2012. Until now, there has been considerable speculation as to who might run for this seat when it becomes vacant. That speculation ended December 13, 2010 when, with little fanfare, Andringa’s son, Attorney R. Scott Andringa, announced that he has entered the race to succeed his father when the next election is held, on November 6, 2012.
Sounds like Scott’s really qualified to be a judge.
(Read the whole post by Spartacus. It’s got a brief biography of Andringa, a good summary of the Richard Paey case, and some analysis of Andringa’s chance of winning the election.)
In any case, I’ll finish now with one last reminder to all those Pinellas County voters: Scott Andringa tried to put a paraplegic man in prison for 25 years for having too many pain pills.