Unabomber Trial Spectacle Continues

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SACRAMENTO: So another attempt to end the tortured spectacle of the Unabomber trial has failed. It's being reported and not denied by the Justice Department that Ted Kaczynski made a second offer to plead guilty in exchange for his life. But Reno's men turned down the deal because it left a remote chance Kaczynski could someday go free. The court is still considering the issue of Kaczynski's competency, and if the Unabomber suspect were found mentally unfit, any plea bargain deal would go out of the window. That would not automatically give Kaczynski a get-out-of-jail-free card, but the possibility exists.

Why reopen plea-bargain talks in the first place? The answer lies in the words of defense attorney Judy Clarke, who told the court last week that Kaczynski was "in a situation ... which he simply cannot endure." He's not alone. If the defendant cannot endure a mental illness defense, then the defense team cannot endure the defendant, and the prosecution cannot endure the whole embarrassing circus. Sooner or later, somebody's got to give.