THE BONUSGATE scandal in Harrisburg -- which involves allegations of political work done on the public dime -- has led to 12 arrests, all of them affiliated with the House Democratic Caucus. The strong public interest here is for these cases to proceed to trial so that the facts are fully aired -- and on Wednesday, Dauphin County Common Pleas Judge Richard A. Lewis came through for the people of Pennsylvania. He rejected claims of selective prosecution brought by six defendants, including former state Rep. Michael Veon of Beaver Falls. Their argument was that state Attorney General Tom Corbett, a Republican, was picking on Democrats to advance his hopes of running for governor. Thank goodness the judge would have none of it. Attorneys general in Pennsylvania are elected in partisan elections and if the ruling had gone the other way, no one in that office would dare to prosecute an official of the other party. It would be like a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free card. As for Mr. Corbett, he has long said the investigation is continuing and Republicans are being looked at, too.
GOOD SENSE, it seems, was no stranger to legal proceedings this past week. The state Supreme Court ended an inmate's hopes of overturning the state prison system's ban on pornography. According to an Associated Press story, the Corrections Department in late 2005 announced a ban on "materials in which the purpose is sexual arousal" as well as images of human nudity. (The policy was later changed to allow a case-by-case review of items that may have literary or educational value.) Acting as his own attorney, Shannon R. Brittain, 34, a convicted rapist no less, sued on the grounds that his constitutional rights were being violated. After Commonwealth Court failed to throw out the case, the Supreme Court unanimously poured cold water on the claim, saying the inmate had failed to meet the high burden required to justify his complaint. Nice try but no cigar (or Playboy magazine).