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Koehler: What price will we extract from hero of democracy? (Heller) [View All]

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Amaryllis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Mar-13-06 10:20 PM
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Koehler: What price will we extract from hero of democracy? (Heller)
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Whistling Diebold
What price will we exact from a hero of democracy?

Tribune Media Services

March 9, 2006

They ain't gonna kiss you just because you're a whistleblower. No matter that you exposed wrongdoing and struck a blow for fair elections. The larger good isn't always obvious to the powers that be.

So Steve Heller, a Los Angeles-based actor whose day job is doing temporary office work, faces three felony charges, all of which are a stretch: felony access to computer data, commercial burglary and receiving stolen property. The Los Angeles County District Attorney's office says he's a thief, an Internet criminal, and that's that. And, oh yeah, he violated attorney-client confidentiality, and cost a big law firm a million dollars in lost business.

Serious stuff. And if the DA's office has its way, this is all the judge and jury will look at: the law in its narrowest sense, as though ethical issues aren't sometimes murky and enormously complicated.

Indeed, this is the story of a 44-year-old man who had a problem in practical ethics fall into his lap a little over two years ago, when he was temping in the word-processing center of Jones Day, a major Los Angeles law firm. Among the firm's clients was Diebold Election Systems, the largest manufacturer of electronic voting machines and voting machine software in the U.S. - and probably the most controversial.


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