Those of us who were around in 1980 know what happened and the injustice of the acquittals that followed. Of all of the culpable parties, Hanlon was the only one who came forward and acknowledged his participation. The others denied everything and after being acquitted went on their merry way. To now punish the only remorseful and repentant one is unconscienceable.
For the Supreme Court to determine that Hanlon's acts were so egregious as to deny him entry now or at any time in the future is beyond hypocritical. Considering the attorneys who have been convicted of innumerable felonies not being disbarred, judges who have committed criminal acts and not removed from the bench and applicants who have shown no history of rehabilitation from their own criminal acts, this decision smacks of politics and pandering. Obviously those most aggrieved by Hanlon's conduct think better of him than those who don't know him at all.
Yes, he was able to persuade Adorno and Yoss that they should grant immunity - before he had anything to disclose. Wise decision.
No, not for the concept of Justice. No, not because he was motivated to go after killer cops. He cut the best deal for Hanlon. He knew that the stories that every one of the killers had spoken and put into reports were complete lies. They killed a man out of anger. He kept silent, denied his own actions, and now what?
I still have my memo outlining to Ms. Reno why I thought Hank + George were wrong. She decided otherwise. I voted to prosecute Vaverka and Hanlon first. But that was late in 1979 and nothing would have brought Arthur McDuffie back.
Do I appreciate that Hanlon has tried to lead an honorable life since? Certainly. But the stain has not faded. Can he become a cop again? Nor should he be an attorney.
I still foolishly believe we are an honorable calling -- that our honor and trust are our finest tools. Hanlon did what he had to do to save his skin. Please do not confuse that with honor and trust.