Tuesday, June 16, 2009

OK: Judge Thomas Bartheld and the David Earls case

By now national media is reporting on the case of David Earls largely suspended sentence for raping a five year old. The sentence was twenty years, nineteen suspended and credit for time served. Meaning Mr. Earls will be released shortly, and will have to register as a sex offender.

Judge Bartheld was quoted: "Some people think I could have given a different sentence, and I couldn’t,” says Bartheld. “In any plea bargain, where there is a negotiated plea, the court can’t change it.”

Three Problems:

1. As reported earlier, the parents, the advocate and DA Miller were afraid the little girl would "freeze up." It's problematic when the adults act based on their fears.

2. The Oklahoma Attorney General's office has opened an investigation, perhaps. Our calls to the AG's office to ask the name of the investigator heading up the alleged investigation were politely stonewalled. Sandy Byler informed us C.J. Murphy refused to identify the person heading the investigation. C.J. Did not return our call. By now most people realize a good government is a transparent one.

3. The job of the DA is to search for the truth. However, the pattern of DA's not trusting juries will find it, and only going with a slam-dunk conviction is increasingly, standard.

Mandated pay scales aside, it's common knowledge DA salaries are tied to conviction rates, although some dispute this. However, coverage to date hasn't addressed the equally important issue of DAs trusting juries.

No comments:

Post a Comment