Sunday, June 6, 2010
Ignorance of the law IS an Excuse
They used to tell us that ignorance of the law is no excuse, but, like many other things, Benton County has stood that maxim on its head. County Judge David Bisbee, who ignored a low bid and did county work with his own construction company, said he had not read the ethics law he was charged with violating -- even though he voted for it as a State Senator. That at least seems like more scienter than most common criminals are assumed have.
This is the same David Bisbee who as a legislator blamed Governor Jim Guy Tucker for grade inflation and social promotion of unqualified students in the public schools. “The parents think their schools are doing a good job until their kid gets ready to go to college and then they say, ‘Well, I guess little Johnny or little Suzy doesn’t test very well,’” Bisbee said. “Every parent out there believes their kid doesn’t test very well. We know that’s not true.” Bisbee didn't do well on his credibility test, either.
Bisbee claimed under oath he can neither read nor write, which explains much about his tenure as Chairman of the Legislative Joint Budget Committee, but since when is that an excuse for breaking the law, especially in Benton County. This is the home of English Only Everything with no quarter for those who cannot read nor speak it. Okay, I admit it, they do cut some slack for the Teabaggers on spelling.
Bisbee's defense is even better than the Twinkie Defense, and former Congressman, Impeachment Manager, and Homeland Security Drug Czar Asa Hutchinson presented it to the Benton County jury with a straight face. I had a flashback to the defense crafted by Charles King, attorney for Pro-Bowl former UA football player Gary Anderson, who had no problem with reading a playbook but apparently had enough difficulty reading his $1.375 million contract with the Tampa Bay Bandits that he was able to get out of it and sign a better one with the San Diego Chargers. So much for that UA education.
Vicki Ronald, director of the Literary Council of Benton County, says there are an estimated 30,000 functionally illiterate adults in Benton County, based on state’s percentage of illiteracy. I'd say that sounds a little high, considering that the voter turnout for the Republican Primary was only about 23,000.