Sunday, July 27, 2008

Politics and Justice

How could the prosecution and sheriff’s department in El Paso County have gotten it so wrong in Todd’s case? A single error wouldn’t have accomplished this wrongful conviction the way a confluence of errors and circumstances could.

We believe the politically charged atmosphere of the District Attorney’s office in November, 2004, greatly contributed to Todd’s wrongful conviction. District Attorney John Newsome, newly elected, appointed his friends rather than keeping those people in positions who had years of experience and judgment.

His newly appointed Deputy District Attorney, Amy Mullaney, in what may have been an early attempt to prove herself as the second in command, was quick to charge Todd, and once charged, would not consider that she had made a mistake and charged the wrong person. Earlier this year, Newsome and Mullany were videoed drinking the equivalent of a 12 pack and a 6 pack of beer, respectively. Both have spouses and families; they were obviously taking time from their families to spend drinking together at a bar. Can there be an expectation of fairness and integrity in their decisions in the district attorney’s office when so little integrity is demonstrated in their personal lives? When questioned about “drinking on the job” Mullaney stated that she couldn’t be drinking on the job because she is salaried and therefore has no set hours. Having no set hours is not the same as having no hours. Perhaps more importantly, how does one make well-considered decisions after consuming large amounts of alcohol on a consistent basis?

Mullaney’s willingness to grant Brad a four year deferred sentence for accessory to murder further guaranteed the District Attorney’s office would vigorously pursue Todd’s conviction because now the only person seen fighting with the deceased had been placed beyond prosecution. Please keep in mind, Deputy District Attorney Mullaney granted the deferred sentence to Brad before the evidence was returned from CBI and almost a year before the Crime Scene Analysis was done which stated Brad could not be ruled out as the assailant.

Where was District Attorney Newsome when these decisions were being made? Was he aware of what was happening in his office or did he blindly trust his future to a relationship that would result in questions about his integrity and demonstrate his attitude of being above the law? Where was District Attorney Newsome when his department charged a 19 year old victim of false reporting a sexual assault rather than seriously investigating this crime by Brad Orgill; (this was the second female to report a sexual assault by Orgill)?

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