Sunday, January 15, 2012

1/4/12 Ogden Shootings Update: A Couple of New Editorial Pieces

Editorial utterings on the "citizens right to know," and "a strong pitch for dialing down demands upon law enforcement officers"

Here are a couple more items in our WCF 1/4/12 Ogden Shootings series:

First, this morning's Standard-Examiner main editorial, wherein the editorial board urges, among other things, that law enforcement authorities ratchet up the flow of public information, arguing that "[i]t is extremely important, as well as the public's right, to know exactly what occurred at the raid, what the injuries are, and what is gathered at a reported "massive" crime scene":
Of course we already opined on this issue on 1/9/12:
Our view here at Weber County Forum? If the Weber County Attorney is intent to release information regarding this case, they should release ALL of it, or alternatively, nothing at all. Additionally we hope that local law enforcement investigators and County Attorney Smith will now expand their investigations to identify and punish those "sources close to the investigation" who seem hell-bent to "try this case in the public press."
The prospect of fully disseminating the evidence in re this investigation is of course is a double-edged sword. The more evidence that's released of course, the greater the risk of contaminating the local jury pool. Considering the volume of speculative (and mostly incriminating) information that's already been floating around, we're already having our doubts whether the suspect, Mr. Stewart, will ever be able to get a fair trial anywhere in or around Ogden, given the truly circus-like atmosphere which has developed in the 11 days since this tragic incident occurred. On the other hand, a full release of information would inevitably produce exculpatory evidence, as it already has actually has, now that the we're learning that the suspect was not armed with an AK-47, and that in truth, no "bomb" was discovered on Stewart's premises, contrary to earlier rumors and "reports."

Whatever the Weber County District Attorney does, however he should 1) clamp down on the "leaks" which suspiciously appear to be coming from investigation insiders, and 2) fully consult with Mr. Stewart's defense counsel, Mr. Richards, to reduce the possibility that any further public release of information won't result in a change of venue motion, which would surely operate to the detriment and considerable increased expense of prosecutors and defense counsel alike.

Yes, the public does have "a right to know." That collective right however does not... and should not override the defendant's right to a fair trial in this matter.

Second, we'll direct our readers' attention to a thoughtful op-ed piece appearing this morning on the Salt Lake Tribune website:
Here's the concluding paragraph of Mr. Pyle's column, wherein he make a strong pitch for dialing down the demands upon "[law enforcement] officers who carry out the battlefield tactics of the drug war":
When we demand that our government cease its futile efforts to put an end to drug abuse in this violent manner, it must not be because we don’t honor men like Jared Francom. It must be because we do.
Regardless of how the facts ultimately shake out, we do believe that law enforcement authorities and legislators need to re-examine tactics and laws which amount to "sledge-hammer solutions to fly-swatter problems."

Nobody's life should ever be put at risk for a "pot bust," in our view.

That's our take; and we're stickin' with it.

And what about you?

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