John Minor: In defense of our DA
Let me state clearly that Mark Hurlbert is a friend. I admire him, I respect the difficult work his office faces daily, and I have found him to be a fair and compassionate man. He is quick to smile, and he is an articulate and intelligent man.
In the interest of full disclosure, I will also state that Dennis Flint is a friend. I have played golf with Dennis, fished with Dennis, and also had the pleasure of drinking fine whiskey with Dennis (not in Summit County, I have a two-county rule). I enjoyed the times I spent with Dennis Flint, but sometimes in a small community you arrest a friend, and yes, it stinks!
However, since the case involving Dennis is yet to be resolved, I will confine my comments to statements in Mr. Andrews’s letter that do not involve this case specifically, and that I find need further clarification. As the late Mr. Paul Harvey would say: “Now here is the rest of the story.”
The Kobe Bryant Case: The district attorneys office won every motion placed before the court, even though the accused had a “dream team” of attorneys, according to the Denver Post. Mr. Bryant spent between $10 million and $12 million on his defense. Unfortunately, the alleged victim did not want to proceed with the case, and the district attorney honored that request – why? She was harassed for 14 months by various media outlets and the defense team, her own alleged friends were paid for stories by various tabloids, and after 14 months of madness she just couldn’t take the pressure anymore. I can’t blame her! Furthermore, there was no taxpayers money spent funding a facilitator.
The Breckenridge Recreation Center Case: There was no press release from the district attorney’s office, and the district attorneys office did not file formal charges. Please understand that everything law enforcement does is subject to the Open Records Act – the press can have almost any information they care to have, and it’s up to the press if they want to publish it or not. We have a very transparent system, and the sheriff’s office and other law enforcement agencies provide information to the press on everyone who is arrested and booked into our jail.
Mark Hurlbert has personally prosecuted four first-degree murder cases; three of these cases went to trial and juries came back with convictions. Recently, he obtained a conviction on a person who murdered a girl in 1976; the district attorney’s office brought closure to this family.
I would offer that the district attorney’s job is difficult at best. His office handles almost 4,000 cases per year in Summit County alone, and almost 12,000 cases in the district every year. Yet Mark Hurlbert still found time to change the system: He, along with others, pushed for the SANE program (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners) and he was also instrumental in forming the new Drug Court Program. This provides a final step before an offender goes to prison and it’s treatment based. Our collective hope and goal is that they don’t go to prison at all.
Mr. Andrew’s I respect your right to be critical. We operate in an imperfect system, but even though I even think the system is flawed, it is still the best system of justice in the world. You still have many questions in your letter that I can’t answer – might I suggest that after the Flint case is resolved you meet with Mark Hurlbert personally, ask him those questions yourself; I am sure he will buy the coffee!
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