Taxpayers on hook for legal bills of state officials in Gosnell case
posted at 10:55 am on February 2, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
As if the case of Kermit Gosnell wasn’t ghastly enough for Pennsylvanians horrified by the state’s failure to stop the carnage at his abortion clinic, the taxpayers got another rude shock from Fox 29 in Philadelphia, this one in their wallets. The bill for legal representation for state officials subpoenaed by the grand jury that uncovered the nightmare of the Women’s Medical Society will have to be covered by taxpayers, and the bill has already exceeded $100,000 (via Lifenews):
Records obtained through the governor’s office indicate that Pennsylvania taxpayers shelled out thousands of dollars to nine private lawyers who went before the grand jury representing state Department Of Health officials and others.
They were being questioned in connection with what they did and didn’t do in the Gosnell case.
The total cost to taxpayers was over $116,000.
The lawyers were hand picked by a Center City law firm that earned over $50,000 in fees.
Outrageous? In one sense, no. The public officials were subpoenaed as part of their work-related activities. The grand jury needed their testimony to determine how Gosnell got away with murdering live, delivered babies for years, if not decades, and that meant issuing subpoenas to those whose responsibility it was to inspect Gosnell’s clinic, follow up on cases of malpractice, and pursue investigations in cases of death and mayhem.
The outrage comes from the fact that none of these people did their jobs. The grand jury report shows that they spent most of their efforts on Gosnell either actively ignoring the mounting damage Gosnell was inflicting or rationalizing that it was someone else’s problem. The “right to representation” doesn’t mean that taxpayers should be on the hook for the bill, especially when outside counsel is hired. Instead of getting high-priced attorneys on the public’s dime, they should have either had the public defender’s office, or paid their own way to explain their utter dereliction of duty.