What the Hell is a “Person of Interest”?

by | Nov 1, 2006 | Stress Blog | 4 comments

I first heard the phrase used by John Ashcroft in his wild unfounded accusations against Steven Hatfill in the anthrax case and here and there a couple of times since.

Now Thursday’s New York Times quotes a California criminal investigator as saying that they have a “person of interest” in custody in the case of the arson fire set out there which killed some fire-fighters.

When I get stuck on things like this, I usually turn to senior Stress blog legal correspondent, James Bovard.

Me: James, help me out here buddy, “person of interest” is just a made up term that doesn’t exist anywhere in law, am I right?

James Bovard: I think the technical translation is this: “Someone who the government wants to fuck with but doesn’t have enough evidence to indict.”

Me: Thanks. Jim Bovard everybody. (applause)

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