Prosecutor imperfection

Posted: Thursday, June 06, 2002

I write in response to the June 3 My Turn, "Alaska Prosecutors are dedicated public servants," by Attorney Gen. Bruce Botelho. It's natural for him to defend his people and their good works. But though his words go down like fine wine from some very flowery, heart-strumming rhetoric, consider the following observations.

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My Turn: Alaska prosecutors are dedicated public servants

"They are committed to protecting the public..." So where were those prosecutors - and their creatures, the grand juries - in the recent fiasco over fixing the state's budget crisis? Doesn't the American principle of government checks and balances call for judicial involvement - like investigations and writs of quo warrento, etc.? Or were the 85 attorneys and their grand juries, and the judges they influence, too busy "handling 27,000 felony and misdemeanor cases" to give any time to protecting the future of the entire population? Warning: There is a difference between impartiality and inaction. And there is no such thing as fiscal irresponsibility without underlying financial misconduct. Ask any accountant and remember Enron.

If Alaska's prosecutors "only ask for the resources to do their jobs well," why hasn't the judicial community, for example, organized a drive to do away with the grand jury system altogether? Some other states have done so, and saved many, many man-hours through simplifying the entire indictment process. Don't say it if you don't mean it, Mr. Botelho.

The people could give more credence to the attorney general if he and judicial community were even taking steps, presently available to them, to minimize inevitable prosecutor imperfection. Maybe Mr. Botelho is just stroking the public to get a public relations rise -as if he was stroking the spine of a cat. If so, that explains a lot.

Stuart Thompson

Auke Bay

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