The Wall Street Journal
February 12, 1998
Review & Outlook
Obstruction and Abuse:
The Clinton Presidency, in our view, has in large part been an exercise in
defining downward the standards that elected officials must abide by and
that voters in a democracy expect them to abide. At the current juncture,
readers may find a refresher course instructive.
1987: Arkansas State Medical Examiner Fahmy Malak rules the deaths of
teenagers Kevin Ives and Don Henry, found run over by a train,
"accidental," saying the boys had smoked too much marijuana and fallen
asleep on the tracks. A second autopsy and grand jury probe, finding
evidence of a knife wound and beatings, declared it "definitely a homicide."
1989: With the controversy over the train deaths case growing, a
commission headed by Arkansas Department of Health Director Joycelyn
Elders clears Dr. Malak. Nine months later, Gov. Clinton proposes a
$32,000 raise for the medical examiner; the state legislature cuts it in half.
A Malak ruling in a 1981 death case involving Clinton's mother,
nurse-anesthetist Virginia Kelley, had helped her avoid intense legal
1990: Jean Duffey, a prosecutor who developed information about a
possible connection between the train deaths and drugs dropped from
low-flying planes was fired and felt it necessary to flee the state, blaming
incoming prosecuting attorney Dan Harmon for a "smear campaign."
1991: A month before Clinton announces his presidential run, Dr. Malak
is promoted to a new job as a Health Department consultant to Dr. Elders.
1997: Prosecutor Harmon is convicted on five counts of racketeering,
extortion and drug distribution for using his office as a criminal enterprise.
The train deaths case remains unresolved.
Copyright © 1998 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.