Ex-federal judge says West Valley detective should never have been charged

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  • RFLASH Salt Lake City, UT
    July 31, 2014 11:19 a.m.

    I can't remember what they said about this case, but I think that she wasn't armed and really wasn't a threat to the cop. Police officers are trained! They shouldn't be able to shoot anyone just because they are there! If he was charged, it means that he probably didn't have a good enough reason to shoot her. If it were someone else who shot her, would they be able to say it was self defense. I bet that they wouldn't! She is dead! So, they portray her as a bad person and make up some lame excuse as to why he felt a need to kill her! The sad thing is, that people will judge her life and because of that, he will probably go free. He is a killer. Don't tell me that isn't worse than anything she might have done!

  • 100%TruePAtriot cincinnati, OH
    July 29, 2014 1:44 p.m.

    Since all cops are not legal to exist under the constitution, the cop committed the same crime as if you or I did it.

    Title 18, part 1, section 241, United States Code, and Article 6 et al.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 29, 2014 12:18 p.m.

    Did they shoot her in the head? Many are saying that, but I can't confirm it in anything I've been able to find online. Wondering if that's an assumption, or a fact.

    I would not be totally surprised if it is a fact. When you are trying to stop a driver you don't shoot the car. Shooting the car does not stop the car (that only works in movies). So what part of the body is exposed through the windows of the car?'

    They could try to stop her by shooting less vital areas through the doors, trunk, or the engine compartment, but that would take super-human marksmanship. I don't think it could be done reliably in the split second needed to stop the car.

    But I think it's important to know the facts before just making assumptions.


    BTW.. Our DA is SIM Gill (not SAM Gill). Most of the people defending SAM Gill, don't even know enough about the case to know his name.

  • 2 bits Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 29, 2014 11:54 a.m.

    A Federal Judge may know more about the legalities than us. We are allowed to protect ourselves when we feel our life is in danger. Police officers included. If they thought the way she was operating her vehicle was putting them in danger... that's their decision (not ours).

    If you think she was a completely innocent victim... you would have to explain why BOTH officers made the same decision (that they needed to use their weapon). Both officers fired. So obviously BOTH made the same spit-second decision that they were in danger and needed to stop the driver of the car.

    I don't think she was completely innocent. She did not comply with the officer's orders and ran from them (that's breaking a law). She was admittedly a drug user (that's breaking the law). She was in the process of committing a crime (that's why she decided to run and take her chances instead of talking to the officers). The way she took off made them think she could run them over (her vehicle became a deadly weapon).

    Unless you've been in their situation... who knows what you would do.

  • Thomas Smith Sandy, UT
    July 29, 2014 8:53 a.m.

    Cassell has stated that "this [case]would cause a huge problem for law enforcement." Utah LE has for some time averaged nearly one killing per month. Frankly, this case causes a huge problem for the public if it is not tried. Cowley is attempting to claim rights and considerations that an arrested person is routinely denied at the hands of LE and the justice system.

  • pleblian salt lake city, utah
    July 28, 2014 9:48 p.m.

    First of all, those in the "know" also know that Sim Gill is a DA and not an AG. It's a head start on the facts we probably aren't giving up soon.

    Second, for those who cry out "Politics!", please explain to me how going after a cop is good politics?

    Third, defending a cop simply because he is a cop is stupid because there are stupid cops. Most aren't, some are. This particular cop is verified stupid because he carried evidence from crimes in his trunk after investigations were over. Why? I can only guess. Perhaps he thought it was his? He got fired for it. He's not a "good" cop even if the shooting is justified.

    Last, everyone should stop pretending they "know" any of the facts. We don't. We know what the prosecutors believe they can prove happened. We can also be sure the defense attorneys will decry the "injustice" and "complete lack of evidence" and "motives" of prosecutors until the final breath of closing argument. It's their job. As a citizen, you can have your opinion, but don't pretend it is an informed opinion yet.

  • John Locke Ivins, , UT
    July 28, 2014 5:50 p.m.

    Studied Thomas Mann at the U, and he is supposed to have said, "Everything is politics." He also said, "Everyone should be a moderate Socialist." Don't agree with him on either, but much of what we do is related to or involved in politics, or at least has a political position...and this case has that smell.

    Some people on this post have watched too many Al Pacino movies. Yes, there was a time when cops held the upper hand, such as in the days of Chief Parker in the L. A. Police Department, but since I studied law and the Miranda and Escobedo cases, and all of the accused legal rights cases of the turbulent 60s, that is no longer the case.

    I just don't want the accused to get the upper hand...and that is what Cassell is trying to prevent here.

    Like many before him, Gill is certainly political and i believe smells blood in the political waters...the good policeman needs Cassell's expertise in this one.

  • ExecutorIoh West Jordan, UT
    July 28, 2014 3:56 p.m.

    I am becoming more and more convinced that Sim Gil is letting politics guide his decisions at the AG's office. Is he planning to run for some other office, because this smells weird. The dramatic arrest of Swallow and Shurtleff (innocent or guilty) of a white collar crime, and a manslaughter prosecution against a police detective (innocent or guilty) seems to be in response to media and public perception more than anything. Now this has my confidence dropping in his ability to impartially discharge the duties of his office. Seems like he has been showboating a lot recently.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 28, 2014 3:15 p.m.

    Re: "The issue is NOT the prosecutor. It is the incident, the facts that led to it, and if the shooter was justified."


    And, when Gill trotted out his charts and graphs, his tragi-comic attempt at justification clearly amounted to overwhelming proof that police officers in this fast-moving situation were clearly justified in their reasonable assessment that a drug user was coming at them with deadly force, in a desperate attempt to injure and evade them, so she could flee and likely do further harm to innocent civilians.

    In other words -- that they were doing their job. What they would have had absolutely no motive, to do, unless the facts were as they said.

    Yes, there needs to be trust between police and prosecutors. I know, from being a prosecutor, that they need to be able to rely on a cop's word. And, from being a cop, that they need to be confident they'll receive honest assessments of their efforts, the benefit of any honest doubts, and the DA's best efforts to prosecute crime.

    Sadly, all are lacking in Gill's organization.

  • LivinLarge Bountiful, UT
    July 28, 2014 3:06 p.m.

    Pretty clear Sim Gill is not advocating for the police and protection vote...I see the end of a political career with this one going to trial.

  • DaveWY Afton, WY
    July 28, 2014 2:35 p.m.

    This has always looked like Sam Gill trying to grab more headlines. Its pretty simple, when the police try to arrest you, don't try and run them down with your car, or even try to get away in your car.

  • pleblian salt lake city, utah
    July 28, 2014 2:23 p.m.

    Ah, yes those who agree that probable cause exists that the officer was not justified in EVERY shooting must be Pro-Crime. And, charging a cop is a politically desirable thing to do in politically pink SLCounty.

    You failed to mention that Rawlings also agrees, and he is DA for uber-red Davis County.

    The issue is NOT the prosecutor. It is the incident, the facts that led to it, and if the shooter was justified.

    I wasn't there so I don't know. Were you there? Do you know how firm the foundation is for the evidence? Yeah, me either because that is determined at trial.

    Are people really worried about the relationship between police departments and prosecutors over this? Every cop knows he's gonna get scrutinized when he shoots someone in the head. Every prosecutor knows their duty to impartially review it. Any "closer" relationship is collusive and abusive. It is offensive that some, like procuradorfiscal, wish to encourage it.

  • Pardon-me-twice Tooele, UT
    July 28, 2014 1:05 p.m.

    Now a ex-Federal judge has thrown his nose in the ring are we all now to bow down to his highness
    and find him "Shaun Cowley" not guilty? A lot of main stream society just because of their federal judge position claim they are never wrong. Wake up and watch out America.........

  • Dixie Independent St George, UT
    July 28, 2014 12:56 p.m.

    Thank you Judge Cassell. This case needs someone who is neutral in regards to the West Valley Police. Sim Gill's desire for higher office overrides his common sense.

  • Bored to the point of THIS! Ogden, UT
    July 28, 2014 12:01 p.m.

    I believe he should be charged! Let the legal system, to the fullest extent make a ruling.

    Personally I think there are some "odd" circumstances surrounding this 'case'.

  • BYUalum South Jordan, UT
    July 28, 2014 11:28 a.m.

    In my opinion it seems to me that Sam Gill has caused "a lot of damage" to several prominent names in the news lately. What office is he seeking in the future is the question that could be asked.

  • Noodlekaboodle Poplar Grove, UT
    July 28, 2014 11:16 a.m.

    I have a hard time seeing how you justify shooting a young lady in the head when you are standing on the side of her car. Especially since she didn't have the drugs on her that the cops claimed they saw her put in her mouth.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    July 28, 2014 11:15 a.m.

    Re: Sim Gill quote, "Nothing personal. Both of us just doing our job,"

    I wish we could believe that.

    With an election looming, political and legal lightweights like Gill often try to spin a disingenuous public image by the cases they choose to bring to court.

    Given some of the comments on this page from the callow, pro-crime element, that may have been a politically astute decision. But, Gill's short-term political gain can never justify the long-term damage to Mr. Cowley's life, or even worse, to the trust that used to exist between Salt Lake County police agencies and Gill's prosecutors.


  • truth in all its forms henderson, NV
    July 28, 2014 10:59 a.m.

    Just like George Zimmerman shouldn't have been charged. Its just the liberal judges trying to take away our gun rights.

  • Anti Bush-Obama Chihuahua, 00
    July 28, 2014 10:17 a.m.

    And why shouldn't he have been charged? Because he was a cop? Being a cop doesn't mean having diplomatic immunity.

  • Howie L SLC, UT
    July 28, 2014 10:01 a.m.

    The question here is what 2016 office is Paul trying to set himself up for?

  • ThornBirds St.George, UT
    July 28, 2014 9:49 a.m.

    Perhaps that is why he is an "ex federal judge" ?

  • pleblian salt lake city, utah
    July 28, 2014 9:11 a.m.

    Cassell is a good man I rarely agree with.

    In this matter, I will not form an opinion without seeing the evidence. The prosecutors, likely more than one, will be ready and competent to prosecute. I have no problem with the defendant having more than one competent attorney defending him. The parties cannot change the evidence, but simply communicate it from their point of view. Sim's burden is high, the defendant should make him prove it.

  • LeDoc SLC, UT
    July 28, 2014 9:06 a.m.

    1st comment assumes Utahns don't like Federal judges; likely due to recent rulings in support of the 14th amendment but unpopular among some who think religious belief should be the law. 2nd comment assumes the jury will consist of "good and true" members and the actual "facts" will come out. It would be nice if justice really were blind instead of for sale and if juries were actually made up of impartial souls who could make just determinations but that's just now how it works in our world. This story has always had a fishy smell and unfortunately testimony which could fill in the gaps will never be heard.

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    July 28, 2014 8:37 a.m.

    There will be a trial and 12 men and women, good and true, will determine if the charges were justified.

    I strongly support cops and the right of everyone to self defense. But, I don't like dirty cops and excessive police force.

    Lawyers for both sides will make their best arguments for and against the officer involved, then we will see what the facts are.

  • iron&clay RIVERTON, UT
    July 28, 2014 7:46 a.m.

    What makes Cassell think that ex-federal judges or federal judges in general have any kind of credibility with the citizens of Utah.