Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Prosecutorial Discretion

Same song, different verse. How can County Prosecutor Bill Douglas think an impartial jury for the Duncan case can be found within Kootenai County? Comparing the case to that of Trooper Linda Huff, who was shot dead in the parking lot of the Idaho State Police district headquarters in Coeur d'Alene, is like comparing Bacchus to a Basset Hound. Other than both being dogs there is little similarity.

Not to diminish the Huff case, it would seem to me he is totally ignoring the emotional undercurrent of the Duncan case. The Feds will be handling the kidnapping of Shasta and Dylan and the murder of Dylan. Douglas is prosecuting the murders of Brenda Groene, her son Slade and Mark McKenzie. However, the fact remains the cases are integral, they involve four brutal murders, kidnapping and child molestation. The feelings of repulsion for this man run deep in this community and it strikes me if the prosecutor does not understand this he ought not to be prosecutor.

He claims, according to an article in this morning's Spokesman Review, that "it wouldn't be any easier to find impartial jurors in other areas of the state because of widespread coverage." He goes on to say "Juror responses concerning their opinion about the allegations will be no different in Rexburg than in Coeur d'ALene. Juror responses concerning their knowledge and opinion of this case are likely to be similar in Boise as in Coeur d'Alene."

How much news do you see in your local papers about Rexburg? And Boise other than political necessities? People in those areas did not live through it as we did and still are. They do not know Shasta nor her Dad. People here do. They never knew Slade, Brenda, Mark or Dylan. They aren't the ones who threw fund raisers; nor are they the ones who recognized Duncan and Shasta in Denny's. They weren't recognized in St. Regis, MT where Duncan took the kids to the wilderness to commit his horrors. He and Shasta weren't recognized as close by as Kellogg where he stopped for gas. So for me the argument is absolutely absurd.

Is it ego or incompetence? This from a man who's judgment led to his attempt to block from the public the full contents of 889 purportedly indiscreet e-mails between himself and the former coordinator of the now defunct juvenile court by appealing the disclosure ruling to the Idaho Supreme Court.

I've been advocating the need for a strong, clean prosecution of this case from day one. I've been worried about a tainted jury giving grounds for appeal. Now I'm beginning to wonder if those who want to see Duncan hung and quartered regardless of what it takes might have a point. Maybe they know our duly elected prosecutor better than I do.

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