Monday, June 14, 2010

Buster Johnson and a Round Up of comments on the Jeffs Dismissal

Three smaller Arizona newspapers and the San Francisco Examiner covered the dropping of charges against Warren Jeffs. Their slightly different perspectives from what you heard in the rest of the media, are interesting.

First, the Kingman Daily Miner. It's a relatively dry piece. Of note is the fact that Erin Taylor tried to contact Matt Smith, but he was unavailable for comment. I know of no one in the press who has claimed to have spoken with Matt since the dismissal. David Bell (below) also tried to contact Matt by phone and e-mail.

The "San Francisco Examiner" writes a piece from AP wire sources, but oddly gets a detail that other MSM outlets didn't emphasize:
"Judge Steven Conn granted Mohave County Attorney Matt Smith's motion to dismiss the four charges of being an accomplice to sexual conduct with a minor. The charges stemmed from two arranged marriages between teenage girls and their older male relatives. They were dismissed with prejudice, meaning they cannot be refiled on the same set of facts."
Jim Seckler of the Mohave Daily News also doesn't appear to have been caught by the Spin Machine prior to writing his short article. Nothing new here except one thing. Jim makes mention of the State of Texas and their extradition effort but accurately reports on the evening of the event, that Warren will be returned to Utah. Other media outlets leave the impression that Warren may go to Texas from Arizona, Jim does not.

Failing to contact Matt Smith, David Bell of the Lake Havasu News-Herald gives him a tap on the shoulder by letting him know that he, David Bell, will get his comment somehow, and he does so, by getting Buster Johnson on the phone:
"Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson, R-Dist. 3, who has campaigned for more than a decade for reform in the polygamous FLDS communities of Colorado City, Ariz. and Hildale, Utah, said the dropping of charges in Arizona is likely to put the county in a bad light.

'I’m embarrassed for the county. It looks like once again we dropped the ball,' Johnson said. 'While I don’t have the information Matt has, to compare to the reasons why he decided to drop the charges, the taxpayers did pay for the incarceration when it was a Utah’s responsibility.' "
I get the vague impression that Buster didn't know this was coming. That would be the "I don't have the information Matt has" remark. Normally (but not always) this is political code speak for "we didn't discuss this....Matt."  You comment in public in such a way as to let your coworker know that you'd like to know before you got blindsided, so that you can toe the company line. Brooke Adams reported on this first remark by Mr. Johnson, but not on the next one.

Buster takes a jab at the complainants:
"I believed, and the County Attorney believed at time, that we had grounds to file charges. I’m curious why the victims are saying they won’t testify here but victims will in Texas."
First, the "code speak" interpretation. "Easy Matt, I've got your back buddy," since he is now directing fire away from Matt Smith, and instead towards Elissa Wall and company. Here's the rest of the interpretation: "The witnesses are the problem and it appears we were too tough on them, why is Texas not going to be tough on the witnesses?" That's a rock in a sock swung at Texas people, and it's calling Elissa Wall and the other witnesses, liars.

Chris Lujan, a candidate for Arizona AG, spoke with Daily Miner reporter Suzanne Adams:
" 'It's not surprising that the charges (against Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints leader Warren Jeffs) were dismissed. When they lost the witnesses, they lost the case,' he said. It's hard to get witnesses to testify about the abuse they may have seen or experienced, Lujan said."
Except as Buster noted, they will testify in Texas. (Too hot in Arizona?) Texas has had no trouble trying cases without any real witnesses.

I'd like to also point out that the "with prejudice" explanation in the "Examiner" story is revealing. It means that the facts don't support a conviction, as they stand now. Those facts need witnesses to bolster them and make them believable. The witnesses do not wish to testify (now, at least) according to Matt Smith. Since the case cannot be retried on the same set of facts, dismissing the charges with prejudice means nothing other than the witness are in fact, unbelievable, since their return to the stand doesn't help the case.

If the facts don't change, Elissa's testimony can't carry the case because Elissa is a liar, it's as simple as that.

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I_hate_bigots said...

Ellisa did a horrible thing to real victims.

Ellisa already testified, wrote a book, gave a ton of interviews, and sold the movie rights.

This has nothing to do with her wanting privacy or not disclosing sensitive info - because she already did that.

To now say she doesn't want to testify is a slap in the fact to all REAL victims.

The Pharisee said...