Kudos to federal Judge David Herndon for ruling that prosecutors can't take the easy way out.
The U.S. Attorney's Office didn't want to do a complete accounting of the losses that property taxpayers suffered in former Madison County Treasurer Fred Bathon's delinquent tax sales conspiracy. They said it would be too difficult and not practical. Enough to know that a lot of people lost a lot of money, they argued.
But Herndon rightly denied that motion.
The taxpayers of Madison County, especially those who paid the highest interest rates so the tax buyers could profit, deserve to know the full scope of this public betrayal of trust. The judge needs to know the total amount, also, to help decide the length of Bathon's prison sentence.
Current Treasurer Kurt Prenzler has estimated the number at $4 million. Maybe he has the resources to make this seemingly Herculean task a lot easier. But Herndon said that Prenzler, a Republican in mostly Democratic Madison County, hasn't even been consulted.
The last thing prosecutors should want is to make it look like they are helping county Democrats keep a lid on the scope of this problem. We eagerly await to hear an accounting of the full extent of Bathon's misdeeds.