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Clinton has to pay own legal fees

Bill Clinton Hillary Clinton Whitewater legal fees 2003

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#1 Rov Judicata

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:22 AM

http://www.washingto...-2003Jul15.html

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A federal court panel yesterday denied a request by former president Bill Clinton and former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton for reimbursement of millions of dollars in legal costs the Clintons paid defending themselves during the independent counsel's Whitewater investigation.

The Clintons had asked a special federal appeals court to direct the U.S. government to reimburse them $3.58 million for their lawyers' bills and other costs incurred while independent counsel Robert B. Fiske Jr. and his successor, Kenneth W. Starr, investigated the Clintons' roles in the failed Arkansas land development deal.

Quote

But the special panel, part of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, ruled that the Clintons should pay the vast majority of those legal bills because they would have been investigated whether or not an independent counsel had been appointed. In the 14-page decision, the panel said that the Clintons should be repaid for 2 percent of their bills: the $85,312 for legal work performed to respond to the independent counsel's report.

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The Clintons complained through their attorney yesterday that two former Republican presidents fared much better in securing repayment of their legal bills in the Iran-contra investigation. George H.W. Bush was awarded $272,000, or 59 percent of the reimbursement he sought, and Ronald Reagan was awarded $562,000, or 72 percent of his request.


Hrm. I have to chew on this some more. I'm not sure if I think this is fair.
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#2 Kosh

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:36 AM

HAve to go with the Clinton's on this one. If they had been found guilty of something, then they pay their own bills, but since nothing came of it, they should be reimbursed.
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#3 Rov Judicata

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:37 AM

^

That was my first inclination. And yet... we've all heard cases of people who were found not guilty but were bankrupted by legal fees. I'm not sure the "But they weren't found guilty!" defense works, in this case...
St. Louis must be destroyed!

Me: "I have a job and five credit cards and am looking into signing a two year lease.  THAT MAKES ME OLD."
Josh: "I don't have a job, I have ONE credit card, I'm stuck in a lease and I'm 28! My mom's basement IS ONE BAD DECISION AWAY!"
~~ Josh, winning the argument.

"Congress . . . shall include every idiot, lunatic, insane person, and person non compos mentis[.]" ~1 U.S.C. 1, selectively quoted for accuracy.

#4 MuseZack

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:47 AM

I feel a lot worse for the second and third tier witnesses that were called up during the massively long Whitewater investigations and got stuck with tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal bills as a result.  It's a crappy way to be rewarded for going into public service.  At least the Clintons have the money to pay.

Zack
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#5 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 04:55 AM

Most defendants in civil actions (and yes I know this is a little different situation though I'm not sure why the same principles shouldn't apply) have to pay their fees even if they win except in very limited circumstances.

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#6 Delvo

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 05:10 AM

I usually tend to favor a "loser pays" policy with civil cases, and would extend that to criminal cases (the government paying if its own efforts yield a declaration that the person did nothing wrong)... but seeing this story with the Clintons makes me think about the drawbacks of such a system.

1. The one that made me think of it these problems is the biggest concern with the Clintons: What about people who have such a magical ability to make others around them, including the judicial system itself and their supposed enemies, fall down in servitude? People with a history of manipulating the judicial system (like the Clintons) are hard enough to "take down" already, but it SHOULD be done; if you have a serious case to bring against such people, the likelihood of losing despite your case's legitimacy, ADDED to the high stakes of having to pay your "victim"'s expenses when that happens, is just more disincentive to even TRY to ever get such people held accountable for their actions. You'd have to go into it knowing you have a much higher chance of being yet another one of the people whose lives are ruined by such corrupt-yet-powerful figures.

2. In criminal cases, it would create an incentive for judicial systems to fenagle themselves to find more people guilty, just to avoid having to pay for their defense.

3. People would no longer have any limit on how much money they can spend on a lawyer, since if you're found guilty then you're life's essentially over and how much money you owe doesn't really matter anymore. And everybody with a service to sell charges more to provide that service to a government than to private individuals or businesses, because of the lack of market controls or spending discipline to prevent it; just look at the sharp upward trend in the cost of higher education, which is government-supported in various ways and isn't yielding a comparable increase in education results. Thus, the total costs of trials would launch upward, which would feed into the problem of #2.

4. Magnifying the consequences in cases that come out "right" always sounds good, but, in cases that get the "wrong" verdict, it only deepens the problems and potential for abuse and tragedies with real people's lives. And, the USA's judicial systems have gotten far too distracted from the basic goal of serving justice for this to be ignored. I wouldn't want the results of a misfire/backfire to be made more severe unless and until we reform the judiciary to quit letting itself get so influenced by so many screwball technicalities and misdefinitions and other such things OTHER than the true facts of the case and the pursuit of justice.

Not that I'm completely convinced that "loser pays" is a bad idea either... the positive and negative effects seem impossible to weigh and compare.

Edited by Delvo, 17 July 2003 - 05:13 AM.


#7 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 05:17 AM

I go back and forth on the "loser pays" issue.

The purpose of the "American" rule (each side pays their own costs as a rule) is to ensure that access to the courts is not based on financial wherewithal.  And I think that's a valid policy.

However, over the years I've become more and more jaded about the American judicial system and I think there is so damn much ABUSE out there that I often wish that there were at least more exceptions to the each side pays their own rule, if not an outright institution of a "loser pays" rule because I think it would have a much needed impact on the frivolous litigation (and frivolous tactics during the course of litigation) that clogs our system.  

Especially in California.   :whatsthat:
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#8 Lover of Purple

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 05:26 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jul 16 2003, 11:10 AM, said:

I go back and forth on the "loser pays" issue.

The purpose of the "American" rule (each side pays their own costs as a rule) is to ensure that access to the courts is not based on financial wherewithal.  And I think that's a valid policy.

However, over the years I've become more and more jaded about the American judicial system and I think there is so damn much ABUSE out there that I often wish that there were at least more exceptions to the each side pays their own rule, if not an outright institution of a "loser pays" rule because I think it would have a much needed impact on the frivolous litigation (and frivolous tactics during the course of litigation) that clogs our system. 

Especially in California.   :whatsthat:
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Finally, a lawyer I can love!!!!!!!!!!!!! :love:

#9 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 05:42 AM

Lover of Purple, on Jul 16 2003, 11:19 AM, said:

{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{{Lil}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}}

Finally, a lawyer I can love!!!!!!!!!!!!! :love:
Awwwwwwwwwwwwwww!!!

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:hehe:  :inlove:  :hehe:
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#10 Delvo

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 06:06 AM

Una Salus Lillius, on Jul 16 2003, 12:10 PM, said:

The purpose of the "American" rule (each side pays their own costs as a rule) is to ensure that access to the courts is not based on financial wherewithal.
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#11 Bad Wolf

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Posted 17 July 2003 - 06:13 AM

^

I know!  :eek:

A clear example of how good intentions can backfire!
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