Comments about ‘Exonerated woman Debra Brown talks about freedom, frustration with AG's office’

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Published: Wednesday, June 1 2011 10:00 p.m. MDT

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Orem, UT

I am so tired of the powerful doing such injustices while the little guy suffers at his hand.


I'm all for criminals serving their time. I'm also for true justice that convicts the guilty and exonerates the innocent. Too often I think ego, desire for career advancement etc warp the judgement of prosecutors who seek conviction at any cost just to close a case. The evidence that convicted Brown initially was circumstantial and flimsy. She was guilty of check forgery-and has admitted it. Based on the facts as reported in the media, it's also pretty clear that she wasn't guilty of murder, but was the easiest target for police and prosecutors at the time. The hearings have been held, the standard of evidence has been met- as ruled by the court. Even though "double jeopardy" protections don't apply in this case, making a political yo-yo out of Brown while the state carves out the precedent it hopes for in future cases just feels wrong. Let's fine tune the law in the legislature and let Ms. Brown get on with her life. She has more than amply paid the penalty for her crimes. It's time to stop spending tax dollars and let this case go.

Farmington, UT

Maybe the Utah Supreme Court will find in her favor and let her freedom continue. It does seem unfair the way the AG's Office is jacking her around.

Somewhere in Time, UT

Let this poor woman go and have a life. It's not right to say they won't appeal and then later reverse that. Leave her and her family alone.

Alpine, UT

Man is not just! Our judicial system tries to be just, but it is based on unjust laws many times, laws that are established to give lawyers work, and not to necessarily administer justice to victims of crimes. I'm currently working with the AG's office on a financial fraud case, and they seem anxious to prosecute the criminals, but not return funds/assets to the victims. Is that justice?

Richard Allan Jenni
Ocean City, NJ

Utah Attorney General Shurtleff seems to be saying,"Gee whiz! This poor woman didn't SUFFER enough! Let's see if we can try her again!"

Pittsfield, MA

"Yet because Brown's is the first case to be tried under the new statute, Shurtleff wanted an appeal to make sure everything was handled correctly. It really isn't about Debra Brown, he said. It's about the process"

Yeah right! Let it go and let her rebuild the life that was stolen from her by the incompetent and dishonest investigators and prosecutors all those years ago.
Personally I think that this is selective prosecution/persecution.

Tom Smith
Sandy, UT

I agree whole heartedly with Deserthiker. In the balance of justice prosecutors have an unequal and much heavier hand-- even a thumb on the scale of liberty.

These two quotes says it all: "Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff had decided"... "Their resistance stems from a desire to not have a mistake on the books," she said. Officials don't want to admit that something wasn't handled correctly and that justice wasn't done...

This is nothing more than ego and politics. We could get rid of Shurtleff, but the next AG will be the same menace.

Bountiful, UT

I'm not certain if she is guilty or not. I don't know enough of the story to make a determination. If she is innocent, her original lawyer was incompetent for not putting this new witness forward in her original trial.

I would guess the Attorney General believes she is guilty or probably guilty. If he believes she is innocent and is still willing to file an appeal for "the sake of the process". I suggest if she goes back to prison, that the attorney general go too, to demonstrate that he too is willing to spend undeserved time and to waste what he has left of his life, for the sake of protecting this process.

In other words, don't impose sacrifices of others that you aren't willing to do yourself. Or to put it another way, Lead by Example.

Murray, UT

There are many innocent people in prison right n w.
The system is not perfect. juries almost always find people guilty.
prosecutors do not care who is innocent their only interest is if they can convict a person.
They rationalize it by saying the defense attorney should have done their job.
the innocence project has worked toward freeing over 250 innocent people. 18 of them on death row.
it is estimated that 5% of those in prison are innocent. this is thousands of people wrongly incarcirated.
yet the system can not admit there is a problem.
our nation locks up more citizens then any other country in the world. In fact there is not another country that is even close to us.

Springville, UT

Hmmmmm, how many death penalty cases are there where the convicted person was actually innocent? This kind of stuff happens all the time all over the country. This is why former Gov. Ryan (R) of Illinois commuted death sentences. Ms. Brown can salvage the rest of her life, and I wish her well, but other sentences are irrevocable.

Mary E Petty
Sandy, UT

Judging one another is a risky affair. The biggest problem with our justice mill is its inherent design for conviction, unless you have the money to fight. And man being human, forgets the teaching, He who is without sin, let him cast the first stone. All too often, the accused is charged with many many charges - remember the old adage, throw enough mud and something will stick. One law is used to bring the offender into the net and then, they look for other charges. Then the system throws the book at them finding cause for conviction; and we never forgive. The big red letter is emblazoned on the "guilty" forever.

And so it is with this case, and that is why society's watchdogs and enforcers pursue. When is society (we the people, the government) ever going to learn to forgive? When is society (we) ever going to learn do unto others as ye would have them do unto us.

Example: the federal program Click it or Ticket funds off duty police officers in Sandy to ticket the unseat-belted. How many caught in this net will be charged with other offenses? The justice mill is flowing....

Port Alice, B.C.

There are two problems as I see it.

First is that the prosecution lawyers are much to willing to let the police control the process.

Second is that the prosecution has the we must win attitude. Their duty is not to win, but to act fairly and disclose all eveidence. They "win" when truth and justice prevail.

It has been said, that it is better that 1000 guilty people go free than for one innocent person to be punished.

Gruffi Gummi
Logan, UT

There is a lot of blame put on the prosecutors and law enforcement. This blame is correct, but it's only a part of the picture. In fact, WE are guilty of such abuses as well. WE accept at face value the claims of "protecting the society", "being tough on crime" and so on, and WE give such prosecutors, sheriffs and commissioners the power to abuse jurisprudence and constitutional rights. This is wrong. "Protecting the society" by laws requires our RESPECT for these laws, and this respect goes out of the window when the laws are perverted to advance someone's career and for monetary benefits of the agencies. The respect disappears when innocents are kept in jail (another prominent recent example is that couple from Payson), and pressured into accepting a plead deal, because the prosecutor has NOTHING to implicate them in the crime. Here is my point of view: I think our neighborhoods are SUFFICIENTLY SAFE right now, so perhaps it is time to focus some more on the constitutional rights, so we see less home invasions by thugs with badges (covered extensively by judge Andrew Napolitano) and less innocents put in jail by fanatical prosecutors.

Tucson, AZ

If the Attorney General's office has sufficient evidence to prove that Brown is guilty, then I think they are making the right step. If she is innocent, I sympathize with what she is going through and has gone through. But I think it is unfair to criticize the AG's office before they present their argument. I would hope that they wouldn't file an appeal unless they had a compelling reason to do so.

West Valley, UT

If I were her, I'd be getting out of the country. I hear Mexico is nice this time of year. They don't just let you out like this and not find some way to get you back in.

Logan, UT

How contradicting are these two statements made by Shurtleff. Remember, the AGs office is the one who worked on this statute to make sure it would take a lot of evidence and proof to even get to the courtroom. Out of 10 cases filed since 2008, Debs case is the only one to make it into the hearing stage.

In the interest of justice and mercy the time has come to bring closure to Debra Brown and everyone involved in this case, says Shurtleff. She has served 17 years in prison and a judge has found her factually innocent. This was Utahs first case like this and I am convinced these types of challenges will be rare. Our office will vigilantly fight to make sure the justice system punishes the guilty and protects the innocent.

Shurtleff said he feared "the floodgates will open" and that every judge will become "another Monday morning quarterback" if DiReda's ruling is not appealed and the system becomes "fatally flawed."

Pride and politics getting in the way of justice

Henderson, NV

Before reading this article I had no idea Debra had embraced the Gospel of Jesus Christ while in prison! No wonder her countenance glows! Congratulations Debra! You have SO much happiness ahead!

Bountiful, Utah

Is someone up for re-election in the Utah AG office? This sounds like a political decision to me in deciding to go after her again. There's the risk this could backfire bigtime though.


Please, if you disagree with Shurtleff's decision to appeal, and it seems that most of you do, email him at uag@utah.gov

Let's flood his inbox with email and tell him how we feel about his flip-flop and this horrible miscarriage of justice.

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