Comments about ‘Letter: Fair trials’

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Published: Tuesday, Aug. 5 2014 12:00 a.m. MDT

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Burke, VA

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

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?

Lake Sammamish, WA

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

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.

Springville, UT

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.

Burke, VA

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

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.

Eagle Mountain, UT

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

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

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???

Burke, VA

"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.


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

"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

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

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.

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

@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.

Orem, UT

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

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

@ 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

@Atlas Smashed
Santa Monica, CA

Why doesn't this apply to Obama?


The hypocrisy is beyond astounding and all reason!

one old man
Ogden, UT

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.

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