- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 21, 2002

When she left the Justice Department, then-Attorney General Janet Reno repeatedly promised us that she would head off into the sunset in her trusty pick-up truck to travel the nation's back roads. With any luck, the optimists among us believed, we might never have to hear from her again. No such luck. Miss Reno wants to be governor of Florida.
At the time of her nomination to be attorney general in early 1993, Miss Reno, based upon her credentials, was arguably the least qualified person ever to fill a high-level Cabinet position. Before Miss Reno got the nod, two far more qualified women the job of attorney general was obviously restricted to women, reportedly at Hillary Clinton's insistence were judged to be political liabilities and were quickly tossed overboard.
Unlike Hillary Rodham Clinton, whom one poll preposterously ranked as one of the nation's 100 top lawyers solely because she was married to an ambitious governor, Miss Reno served as the relatively unknown Dade County state attorney in southern Florida. Her conviction rate, which is the bottom line for prosecutors, was below average. Her strongest attribute, of course, was her gender. But Miss Reno wasn't just your run-of-the-mill female county prosecutor. She had a mission. And her mission nicely coincided with the ostensible mission of Mrs. Clinton, who was chairman of the Children's Defense Fund. Miss Reno appointed herself to lead Florida's crusade against what was then believed to be an epidemic of child sex abuse or, at least, so said all the experts.
To the extent that Miss Reno had any reputation at all, it was derived from the role she played in the most important case she prosecuted. At the height of the nationwide child-sex-abuse hysteria, State Attorney Reno charged Grant Snowden, a highly decorated Miami police officer who had an impeccable record of citizenship, with the most unspeakable crimes imaginable. In the early 1980s as Dorothy Rabinowitz has meticulously documented in essays and editorials in the Wall Street Journal, for which she won a Pulitzer Prize Miss Reno originally charged Mr. Snowden with molesting a 3-year-old boy. His wife, who ran a babysitting service, had been caring for the child. However, that case self-destructed. Not to worry. Miss Reno found three other toddlers, the oldest of whom was 6, who testified about events that supposedly occurred two years earlier. Beyond the children's testimony, which had been painstakingly extracted from the children by a pseudo-expert masquerading as a self-described "yucky-secrets doctor," there was no evidence against Mr. Snowden.
Mr. Snowden was sentenced in 1986 to five count 'em, five life terms. After he served nearly 12 years in prison, a three-judge panel of the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously overturned Mr. Snowden's conviction, noting that his conviction was based on the flimsiest of evidence. After the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear the appeal of Florida's attorney general, Florida stopped its plans to retry Mr. Snowden, whose life, to put it mildly, was largely destroyed by Janet Reno.
With Mr. Snowden's conviction shining as a notch on her gunbelt and its overturning five years away, Miss Reno rode into Washington, where her "pro-child" crusade accelerated, culminating in the Waco debacle. Saved by her gender indeed, in a grisly twist, the media made her into a folk hero Miss Reno spent the next seven-and-a-half-years proving that she was, in fact, the least qualified, and worst-performing, person ever to serve in a high-level Cabinet position.
And now she wants to be Florida's governor. Has she no sense of decency? Has she no shame?

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