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Letter: Fair trials

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  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 5, 2014 5:44 a.m.

    An excellent and eloquent plea for all of us to remember the tenets of our national system of criminal justice - that all men (and women) are innocent until proven guilty. That sometimes means that the guilty will go free because there isn't "enough" evidence or the jury makes an illogical judgement. But those are the rules we live by and we should accept them.

    This same plea should apply to all those who have been accused but not yet found guilty. Too often we, the public, are quick to make judgments about a person's guilt, based on their cultural background, the neighborhood they live in or grew up in or the color of their skin.

    Let's give everyone the benefit of letting the courts determine their guilt or innocence without us making hasty judgments and condemning someone before their day in court.

  • Happy Valley Heretic Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 7:09 a.m.

    However, guilty or innocent, they should still be accorded the respect that we all desire, and to not be publicly lynched by the mob mentality that has permeated this story since the beginning.

    Respect was lost when their ability to make ethical decisions failed them. You never want the highest law enforcement in the state to be secretly recored at a secret meeting saying "do they know about the boat" which proves he at least thought it would look bad to the people of Utah.

    Not to mention the daily executions of the president by misinformed radio fans. No charges have been filed on him and yet daily these folks claim that he is breaking the law with nothing more than hate to drive them.

    These 2 are special though, for some reason?

  • SharpHooks Lake Sammamish, WA
    Aug. 5, 2014 7:38 a.m.

    That's because of the mountain of evidence dug up already...that goes WAY beyond accidental, incidental, or circumstantial--i.e.; Swallow on tape worrying that he might be caught using Johnson's houseboat. They are under a larger microscope than the average Joe, and we, the people, who elected them are hot now.
    Yes...everyone is technically innocent until proven guilty, but these two sure left a trail that leads any sane person to highly question their integrity, smarts, and legitimacy.
    Shurtleff posing in the yellow Lamborghini---C'mon.

    Unless you are related to them, there is every reason to suspect that they are guilty for at least SOME of the felony charges.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 7:52 a.m.

    Not only are these charges serious, but the evidence is overwhelming.

    You have several DAs (repubs and democrats), the Utah legislature, and the FBI. It's not some liberal conspiracy to take down the beloved AG. In fact, you have a meeting at Krispy Kreme where Swallow asks Johnson if people "knew about the boat." First off, why is Swallow even meeting with Johnson? Secondly, why is he asking him if people knew about the boat? Let's stop playing politics here and just look at the evidence, for once.

  • Esquire Springville, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:19 a.m.

    Dave, the system will protect these defendants. They will probably be better protected and represented than those they themselves prosecuted (unless it was their buddies who paid them off). I don't think media attention and criticism of the defendants rises to the level that you portray.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:21 a.m.

    Real Maverick - you are right about what appears to be mountains of evidence that has been leaked to the public. So go ahead and have diadain for these men and even root for them to be convicted, if you must. But please don't claim they are guilty of anything until they are actually proven to be, in a court of law. There are two, and sometimes more, sides to every situation and it would be foolish to assume something without hearing all the evidence. That's what a trial is all about.

    I don't think the author is claiming this is a left wing conspiracy or any such thing. He's just saying we should cool it with the hyperbolic language and sanctimonious judgement until all the facts are known and the final judgement is made. That's all.

    I'm sure you've got plenty of things to do in the meantime. The system seems to be working. Let it follow it's intended course and hope the truth, above all else, is what is revealed in the end.

  • Atlas Smashed Santa Monica, CA
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:27 a.m.

    Why doesn't this apply to Obama?

    Let me get this straight:

    Zero evidence of birth certificate falsification
    Zero evidence that he's a Muslim
    Zero evidence of a Benghazi cover up

    Obama is guilty of all of these things and needs to be impeached.

    But with Shurtleff and Swallow? Overwhelming evidence, not to mention an audio recording from a doughnut shop in Orem, and yet they're still innocent?

    Interesting how double standard here.

    If some people desire that the hateful rhetoric be toned down, then great! But I just hope that the right does this as well.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:33 a.m.

    I find it ironic that this is the case where Utahns draw the line in the sand for "Innocent until proven guilty"

    Brian David Mitchell received no such letters.
    Warren Jeffs- nope.
    Curtis Allgier-Nope, the guy had too many tattoos to be innocent (that was actually some of the comments)

    But the AG on corruption standards? We must allow the System to work!

    The Court of Public Opinion has no such thing as due process. It is not required to play by such rules.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:38 a.m.

    Information was not "leaked" to the public.

    It was obtained by news reporters who were doing the job they should be doing. Reporting to the public and holding public officials accountable for their actions.

    If this information had not been reported to the public, do you really believe the case would have progressed to this point. Or would the GOP powers have squashed it and allowed corruption to continue?

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:39 a.m.

    We can talk about it, but we need to suspend judgement until the trial is over.

    We also need to keep the severity of the crimes in mind while we talk about it. Some people act like they committed murder... What is the penalty for using a client's house boat? Death???

    IF they are found guilty... THEN the punishment needs to fit the crime. How many years do you get for using somebody's house boat???

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 5, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    "Information was not "leaked" to the public."

    If the information went from a criminal investigation to the local newspapers then somebody leaked it. Yes, the journalists have done their job in keeping the story alive but once again you make assumptions without evidence when you say, "...the GOP powers (would) have squashed it and allowed corruption to continue?" If you have evidence of that happening, bring it forward. But as it stands, your argument is no different than the weak arguments made by the GOP against the president, or Harry Reid or Nancy Pelosi. Until we all stop this finger pointing at each other our national discourse will only suffer even greater damage.

    These men have been charged with serious crimes and from the evidence made public, it appears they are guilty. But NONE of us has the power to convict either one of them: only the judge and jury after they have considered the facts.

    That same standard should apply to everyone accused of a crime and until you or I afford that privilege to even the people we don't trust, we are not doing our part to raise the standard of discourse.

  • GZE SALT LAKE CITY, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 9:00 a.m.

    Great sentiments, Dave. I hope you apply the same fairness and open-minded attitude to every single person who is accused of a crime and especially to those who are not convicted. They, too, deserve a chance to get back to their lives without being judged by anyone.

  • Atlas Smashed Santa Monica, CA
    Aug. 5, 2014 9:02 a.m.

    "We can talk about it, but we need to suspend judgement until the trial is over."

    Great! Let's have this apply to the President as well. How many times have you and others from the right judged the president guilty before any trial or heck, any evidence?

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 9:05 a.m.

    HVH, sharphooks
    Why am I not surprised to see that you have already convicted them?

    Maverick,
    Why did not holder’s injustice department file the charges? Why was it the SL County prosecutor? Maybe because holder already dug far enough to reach reid, so he backed off? See how easy it is to come to a conclusion from the court of public opinion and personal distrust of the other party? No, let the courts try them.

    Atlas,
    Who, beside dem fund raisers, is talking about BO being impeached? WHO???

    I do not believe BO is a muslim, but BO himself was quoted as saying, “my muslim faith”, so if there is any confusion on that point, BO contributed to it.

    And since when is being a muslim an impeachable offense? Boy, the dem fundraisers are really grasping at straws and their target audience is really gullible.

    If they are found guilty, they should be punished. Period. but not before.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    Aug. 5, 2014 9:45 a.m.

    @lost in DC wrote: "Atlas,
    Who, beside dem fund raisers, is talking about BO being impeached? WHO???"

    Rep. Steve Scalise, Rep. Jeff Denham, Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, Rep. Steve King, Rep. Jason Chaffetz, Rep. Michele Bachmann, Rep. Blake Farenthold, Rep. Steve Stockman, Rep. Jack Kingston, Rep. Randy Weber, Rep. Joe Barton, Rep. Michael Burgess, Rep. Ted Yoko, Rep. Paul Broun, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Lou Barletta.

  • Tenn12 Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:02 a.m.

    2bits?
    Several felonies for both individuals are not serious? Since when? Sorry, it's much more than using someone's houseboat. I would encourage you to read up on their charges. With the positions these men held, they are very serious.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:20 a.m.

    They will buy their way out of prison. That's an unwritten rule of the court system, If you have money, you can pay a hefty amount to go free.

  • The Educator Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:38 a.m.

    @ 2 bits

    "Some people act like they committed murder... What is the penalty for using a client's house boat? Death???"

    Try telling that to the thousands of Utahns who lost their retirements by Johnson. While these Utahns were being ripped apart Our AGs were hanging out on house boats and beach front condos. Utahns lost an estimated $250 million in retirement funds due to Johnson. While he should have been prosecuted he was hanging out with our AGs.

    Did you know that thousands of Utahns lost their homes because of a bank committed fraud? That very same bank donated hundreds of thousands to Shurtleff and later gave him a job.

    Have you spoken to a single mother with children who lost everything because her payday shark preyed on her while they bought off Swallow?

    Make no mistake, thousands upon thousands of Utahns have been hurt by the corrupt AG. He is supposed to be the chief law enforcement of the state. We are all hurt when our AG refuses to enforce the law because he's too busy counting his bribes from those he should be prosecuting.

  • LDS Liberal Farmington, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 10:39 a.m.

    @Atlas Smashed
    Santa Monica, CA

    Why doesn't this apply to Obama?

    ===========

    Agreed!
    The hypocrisy is beyond astounding and all reason!

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 11:20 a.m.

    ECR, wrong.

    There are laws that require law enforcement to disclose information when requested by news media.

    They may withhold it only when there are exigent circumstances that would endanger a case or witnesses in the case.

    Ever heard of "Freedom of Information?"

    On top of that, most of the information reported on came directly from court documents filed as part of the charging process. Those documents are public documents unless they have been ordered by the court to be sealed due to circumstances permitted by law.

    Again, I can only say that the people of Utah owe a large vote of thanks to the Salt Lake Tribune for shining a spotlight on this situation. Without that spotlight, it would likely have been swept back under the rug.

    One of the basic foundations of a free and honest society is a free and honest press.

  • SharpHooks Lake Sammamish, WA
    Aug. 5, 2014 11:43 a.m.

    @Anti Bush Obama--
    These guys are almost flat broke now, and what they have left will soon disappear to their lawyers. No--they will NOT be buying their way out of this.

    @Lost...I haven't convicted them. I was just naming evidence that is doing a fine job of that all by itself. Shurtleff protests to the point of exhaustion...and I don't think he's doing himself any favors--tweeting---that and parading his daughter out in front of him like a human shield.
    Swallow--for his myriad faults--is keeping mum...not that THAT will save him.

    This whole thing stinks...where there's smoke--this MUCH smoke-- there's usually fire.

    I haven't convicted them, but I'm sure our legal system will.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    one old man - I can tell you feel strongly about the case. My point was that the public has been informed by the media with whatever information has been given them, in whatever method they obtained it and there is no guarantee that is the complete body of evidence.

    I'm not sure you and I are having an argument, but regardless it has very little to do with the point of the letter to the editor. All he was doing was asking for the public to not judge anyone before they have their day in court.

    I'm usually on your side arguing against the likes of Lost in DC, or Redshirt Whatever and all it gets us is a louder argument with no resolution. I'm just trying to say that if we expect those folks to be more fair minded (and I really don't expect it) when discussing the people we support - like the President - then we should be just as fair minded (regardless of whether or not they are) when discussing the politicians they support. Nobody has been convicted ...yet, and until they are we should keep an open mind.

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:11 p.m.

    @Sharphooks:
    "These guys are almost flat broke now, and what they have left will soon disappear to their lawyers. No--they will NOT be buying their way out of this."

    If only it were so. However, with their connections to loan sharks and Bank of America, I'm sure "arrangements" can be made. Maybe a little short sale (Mike Lee could tell them how it's done), maybe a reverse mortgage, who knows? If they have to sell their houses (and who knows what other properties they may have acquired), then maybe they could stay in a house boat at Lake Powell or a beach-side condo in Newport. What are friends for, after all? . . . . Well, maybe not those kinds of friends.

    And can't they tap their campaign funds--you know, the ones that were so generously inflated by contributions aka bribes?

  • FreedomFighter41 Provo, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 12:53 p.m.

    @ ECR

    I think you should consider the very real and personal consequences of the crimes of these 2 men. We typically agree too, but not on this issue.

    Why? Because I've been personally effected by these men.

    My aunt who's 70 years old was booted out of her home by Bank of America. I remember how she was treated. She told me the details. I felt like there was something fishy. Did Shurtleff look after victims like my aunt? Nope. He was posing with a yellow Lamborghini in Los Angeles while my aunt lost her home.

    In my church calling, I've heard a few stories of broken desperate people who have just been destroyed by these loan shark guys. Was our AG looking out for my poor church members? Nope. He was taking bribes from them.

    I've seen personally the destruction these men have wrecked. I hope justice is served. The mere fact that they're still receiving a state pension is just so infuriating.

  • lost in DC West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 1:15 p.m.

    understands math,
    no legislation has been introduced

    source please - DNC and huffingtonpost are not reliable and not acceptable.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 1:24 p.m.

    @Educator

    Re: "Try telling that to the thousands of Utahns who lost their retirements".... "Did you know that thousands of Utahns lost their homes because of a bank committed fraud"... "Have you spoken to a single mother with children who lost everything because her payday shark "...

    Not only are you convicting them before trial... You are convicting them of stuff THEY aren't even CHARGED with!

    THEY aren't being tried for taking people's retirement!
    THEY aren't being tried for bank fraud!
    THEY aren't being tried for payday loan companies!

    You seem to be trying them for EVERY grudge a good Democrat has been told they should have against Republicans now days!

    Try to remember... they are being tried for specific crimes (not every Democrat grudge). And they haven't been found "guilty" of a single crime yet.

    I know our legal system is hard for some to understand, but you don't get to heap every grudge you ever heard upon them (just because you are upset at Republicans).

    You try them for things they have been legally charged with. Then a jury of their peers hears evidence and decides (not you Democrat hacks)...

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 1:29 p.m.

    To "FreedomFighter41" why blame the businesses? You do realize that in the case of your Aunt that she most likely was not paying her mortgage for at least 1 year before she was kicked out of her home. That means for a year she was essentially stealing from the bank. Who is the victim, the person who doesn't pay their debt or the debt holder that has so many legal hoops to jump through that they can't sell the property to recover their costs?

    Also, who forces anybody to go to a "loan shark"? People choose to make bad decisions, so why punish either one. If you are dumb enough to go to a loan shark, then you should learn the hard way that it is a bad decision.

    You want to save people from their bad decisions, which is nice, but it doesn't allow them to learn from their mistakes. What good is choice if you never have to suffer the consequences of bad choices?

    If you keep rescuing people from the loan sharks, when will they learn not to go the loan sharks? All you have taught them is that they will be rescued.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 1:59 p.m.

    Fair Trials are a partisan buzz-kill. Why have fair trials.... when all the partisan bickering and convicting them for every grudge we have against the other party is so fun???

    This legal stuff it no fun...

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:03 p.m.

    "should still be accorded the respect that we all desire"

    Right.

    Even though a recording that can only be demonstrating Shurtleff's venality and his willingness to profit by committing crimes is now publicly available, we should just ignore it.

    Sure we should.

    We should just pretend it doesn't exist.

    They are guilty . . . just not officially guilty yet.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:09 p.m.

    Hey Lost in DC -

    "but BO himself was quoted as saying, “my muslim faith”,"

    WRONG.

    Don't "Conservatives" ever get tired of telling lies about our President? Have they no pride? . . . no morals?

    Snopes refutes your FALSE contention. Look it up.

    Obama was referring to false allegations that he was a Muslim.

  • Understands Math Lacey, WA
    Aug. 5, 2014 2:15 p.m.

    @lost in DC wrote: "understands math,
    no legislation has been introduced"

    Moving the goalposts, are we? You asked who was talking about impeachment and I supplied you a list of Republicans who have been talking about impeachment.

    "source please - DNC and huffingtonpost are not reliable and not acceptable"

    So in a comment that I cannot post hyperlinks in, and when I am limited to four comments per article and no more than 200 words per comment, you are expecting, what, MLA-style citations?

    I respectfully decline.

    I will make one correction however: I did make a typo on one of the names: it should be Rep. Ted Yoho.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 3:00 p.m.

    @MaxPower
    I'd add Josh Powell to your list. He wasn't ever even charged with a crime, but he was convicted from day one.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 3:09 p.m.

    @Noodlekaboodle

    I thought of him right after I submitted my comment. Thank you!

  • Tenn12 Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 3:17 p.m.

    2bits- "We also need to keep the severity of the crimes in mind while we talk about it. Some people act like they committed murder... What is the penalty for using a client's house boat? Death???

    IF they are found guilty... THEN the punishment needs to fit the crime. How many years do you get for using somebody's house boat???"

    I mentioned before that clearly you did not read up on their charges. Simply using someone's houseboat was an ignorant statement regarding their situation. Again 2bits, are felonies not serious? You have yet to answer. Or are felonies only serious when someone from a different party is accused of them?

  • Curmudgeon Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 4:29 p.m.

    MaxPower and Noodlekaboodle:

    I suppose we should declare Josh Powell not guilty of torching his house with his two little boys inside because he was not tried and convicted in a court of law, right? Presumption of innocence and all . . . .

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 5, 2014 5:16 p.m.

    Hey 2 bits –

    “We also need to keep the severity of the crimes in mind while we talk about it.”

    We also need to keep in mind who committed the crimes, while we talk about it.

    We’re talking about the Utah’s Attorneys General here . . . Two men who actively sought to convict others of crimes, by hook or by crook . . . Two men who gauged their personal SUCCESS by the number of Convictions they could get and by the SEVERITY of the sentencing.

    These men are NOT like other citizens.

    Should they be treated differently from other citizens?

    ABSOLUTELY.

    These men are SYMBOLS of Utah’s justice system.

    If their crimes are overlooked, and if they get a slap on the wrist, then EVERYONE will know there really is NO justice in Utah.

    And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

  • The Educator Orem, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 7:13 p.m.

    I think having a corrupt at has led to confusion and anarchy.

    We the people of Utah demand and deserve clarification, just like governor Herbert.
    We want clarification on what an AG can and cannot do and what happens if he breaks the law... Repeatedly.

    Anything else, would just be anarchy.

  • Cincinnatus Kearns, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 8:25 p.m.

    What the letter writer fails to differentiate is that the LEGAL system is required to see them as innocent until proven guilty, not public opinion.

    My opinion is that they are guilty- I wouldn't hire them, or even be their friend. So what? My opinion does absolutely nothing to remove any constitutional rights from either of them.

    The legal system, on the other hand, must look at them as innocent until a preponderance of the evidence convicts them of any crimes. Why? Because if the legal system finds them guilty, they are in danger of having constitutional rights taken away and being incarcerated.

    That's the beauty of our system- I'm able to freely express my opinion. They don't lose rights unless convicted by a court of law, not a court of public opinion.

  • MaxPower Eagle Mountain, UT
    Aug. 5, 2014 9:38 p.m.

    @Curmudgeon
    MaxPower and Noodlekaboodle:

    I suppose we should declare Josh Powell not guilty of torching his house with his two little boys inside because he was not tried and convicted in a court of law, right? Presumption of innocence and all . . . .

    -----------

    I fear you misunderstood my argument. There have been plenty of trials in our past where the public had already condemned the accused. Not saying they did not deserve it, nor that in cases of trial it had been unfair. No one is trying to take away the right to a fair trial.

    I just find it interesting not a single letter to the editor was published about these individuals trying to hush the discourse of the Court of Public opinion.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 6, 2014 8:47 a.m.

    @GaryO,

    Re "These men are NOT like other citizens. Should they be treated differently from other citizens? ABSOLUTELY"...

    Now that's just not right. ALL citizens have the same inalienable rights. You don't loose them once you accept a government job.

    We don't have 2 Constitutions (one for regular citizens... and another for government workers).

    We ALL have the same rights. They may have "responsibilities" we don't have, and them doing something that would be OK for you and me (I have borrowed a friend's house boat, and other people have paid for me to stay in a hotel) would not be a crime for me, where it could be for them. But they do NOT in fact lose ANY of their legal "Rights" because they are government officials.

  • GaryO Virginia Beach, VA
    Aug. 6, 2014 9:10 a.m.

    Hey 2 bits –

    “Now that's just not right. ALL citizens have the same inalienable rights.”

    Uh huh . . . And just like everyone else, these two former Utah AG’s have the right to be tried, convicted, sentenced, and PUNISHED to the utmost extent of the law.

    In a perfect world, all laws would be enforced equally.

    But in reality, resources just don’t exist to enforce all a laws, all of the time, equally for everyone.

    So law enforcement prioritizes according to the significance of the crime.

    Thus murders take high precedence over shoplifting. And prosecuting the theft and fraud perpetrated by bald-faced lying, hypocritically venal AG’s should take precedence over prosecuting some kid who burglarizes a house.

    If these former SYMBOLS of Utah Justice are not prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, then Utah is ill served.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 6, 2014 10:15 a.m.

    Let the judicial process run its course before making judgments. Some want a fair trial only if it produces the outcome that supports their biases.

  • Irony Guy Bountiful, Utah
    Aug. 6, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    "They should still be accorded the respect that we all desire, and to not be publicly lynched by a mob mentality." Of course, unless we're talking about Obama. . .

  • Tenn12 Orem, UT
    Aug. 6, 2014 11:08 a.m.

    2bits,
    It appears you are picking and choosing which posts to respond to. For the third time, why did you downplay their accusations as someone simply using a houseboat? Have you read the charges yet? Do you still believe felonies are no big deal?

  • Ernest T. Bass Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 7, 2014 10:37 a.m.

    In Utah the majority of voters, the faux news watchers, are convinced that these two are innocent while Obama should be sued and impeached.
    There are mountains of evidence that these two are guilty while there isn't a bit of evidence that Obama is any of the things the repubs claim he is.