Scott Stanford: Process worked in Sweet Pea case

From the Editor

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Giles Charle's mother called me Wednesday to thank me for helping get her son out of jail.

I didn't know how to answer. I know that absent the newspaper's coverage, Charle and David Siller most likely would still be behind bars. But securing the men's release is not what this newspaper set out to accomplish when it began reporting this story Friday, and I take neither personal nor professional pleasure in their release.

What I do take pride in is the newspaper's ability to shine a spotlight on a potential community problem and to foster community debate that ultimately led to what seems to be a reasonable resolution. Some - particularly the District Attorney's Office - would disagree. They would say the newspaper's coverage was sensational, unfair, biased and factually inaccurate. We made sure to give prosecutors the opportunity - on our Web site, on our opinion pages and in our news stories - to share such criticisms.

Of course, I think that criticism is off target. From the outset, we were simply trying to report what we thought was a good story and an important story. I frequently tell our reporters to "write what you know." They did that in this case day after day.

Only Charle and Siller know for sure what happened at Sweet Pea Produce the night of June 26. My best guess - after reading everything that was written and after multiple interviews with the men, the owners of Sweet Pea and prosecutors - is that they did commit trespass but that everything they took came from the over-ripe produce set beside the trash at the store.

I also believe Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James did what he thought was right. The evidence on the night of the incident was that felony burglary had been committed.

St. James has not changed his mind. He did, however, recognize that after store owner Jonathon Hieb publicly supported the men's version of events, he could not fight public perception that the men's punishment did not fit the crime.

In the end, it was Hieb who did more to free Charle and Siller than anyone. Hieb acknowledged that on the night of the incident, he told police he wanted to press charges because he thought the men had been inside the store. But he said an inspection the day after the incident showed they never entered the store and that the stolen produce came from the trash area. Hieb repeated that assertion again and again in news stories and in comments posted to our Web site.

So if Shaune McCarthy Charle - Giles' mother - wants to thank someone, she should thank Hieb. He gave Charle and Siller their get-out-of-jail-free cards.

And after she finishes issuing thanks, maybe Shaune can give her son and Siller a swift kick in the pants. Although the Sweet Pea duo didn't deserve six months in jail, it was their behavior - not the prosecutor's, not the store owners' and not the newspaper's - that sparked this entire episode.

Next time, guys, give me a call, and I'll buy the asparagus.

Comments

grins 8 years, 3 months ago

My post was ponied here. Does the STATE Loop-it HERE>?

Look for MY Post! (not my ask'n)

GIVE-UP-ON Your pass/greasions. Apperent-lee loss livin on the pole./sorry I Was tink'n--POLLS

S.S.= Soc. SERVs

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grins 8 years, 3 months ago

One More glimps!

Many hours (months) with-out the state parading my children!

My home knows where You Think AT

ild

i

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montysimmons 8 years, 3 months ago

Oh my God. Scott Stanford appears to have less integrity than St. James; something I had previously though was unlikely.

Let us review Stanford's comments:

[Stanford] Giles Charle's mother called me Wednesday to thank me for helping get her son out of jail. I didn't know how to answer.

(1) I know that absent the newspaper's coverage, Charle and David Siller most likely would still be behind bars.

(2) But securing the men's release is not what this newspaper set out to accomplish when it began reporting this story Friday, and I take NEITHER PERSONAL NOR PROFESSIOANL PLEASURE in their release. (emphasis added)

(3) What I do take pride in is the newspaper's ability to shine a spotlight on a potential community problem and to foster community debate that ultimately led to WHAT SEEMS TO BE A REASONABLE RESOLUTION. (emphasis added)

(4) From the outset, we were simply trying to report what we thought was a good story and an important story. (placed here out of sequence)

(5) Only Charle and Siller know for sure what happened at Sweet Pea Produce the night of June 26. My best guess - after reading everything that was written and after multiple interviews with the men, the owners of Sweet Pea and prosecutors - IS THAT THEY DID COMMIT TRESPASS BUT THAT EVERYTHING THEY TOOK CAME FROM OVER-RIPE PRODUCE SET BESIDE THE TRASH AT THE STORE. (emphasis added)


OK, so Stanford believes two men were wrongfully charged with burglary when all the two men did was commit trespass, and as a result, such men received an unreasonable jail term. Standford further believes that, due to the newspaper's reporting efforts, the two men received a reasonable jail term, and thus, the system worked and justice finally prevailed where previously something less than justice (i.e. injustice) occurred. Still, Stanford contends, he "take[s] NEITHER PRESONAL NOR PROFESSIONAL PLEASURE IN THEIR RELEASE."

How does one take pride in fostering a community debate that ultimately leads to an injustice being corrected yet take "neither personal nor professional pleasure" in the act (i.e. release the two men) that actually corrects the injustice?

Such as statement smacks of "Form over Substance double talk," not something one typically wants to see from the editor of a print media as such statements are not consistent with honesty and integrity.

Whoever is in control of the Steamboat Pilot should reevaluate the decision to make Stanford its editor of the Steamboat Pilot. In my opinion, we all need to start holding the print media (editors are a good place to start) accountable for their reporting and stop the drive by media mentality.

If I were a citizen of the Steamboat community, I would want the Steamboat Pilot's editor to care about the Steamboat community. Such and editor would take great personal and professional pleasure in being part of the release of two wrongly jailed individuals.

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montysimmons 8 years, 3 months ago

Also consider the following Stanford logic.

[Stanford] (1) I also believe Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James did what he thought was right. The evidence on the NIGHT OF THE INCIDENT was that felony burglary had been committed.

(2) Hieb acknowledged that on the night of the incident, he told police he wanted to press charges because he thought the men had been inside the store.

(3) But he said an inspection the day after the incident showed THEY NEVER ENTER ENTERED THE STORE and that the stolen produce came from the trash area.

(4) Hieb repeated that assertion again and again in news stories and in comments posted to our Web site.

(5) St. James has not changed his mind. He did, however, recognize that after store owner Jonathon Hieb publicly supported the men's version of events, he could not fight public perception that the men's punishment did not fit the crime.


So Stanford now believes ADA St. James "DID WHAT HE THOUGHT WAS RIGHT" based on the evidence gathered the night of the incident (and apparently only such evidence) Really? If guilt and innocence in our society were based only on evidence gather "the night of [an] incident", then Stanford and ADA St. James would have a point. Fortunately, we do not live in such a society and Stanford know such.

The Stanford statements: "I also believe Assistant District Attorney Kerry St. James did what he thought was right. The evidence on the NIGHT OF THE INCIDENT was that felony burglary had been committed."

is double talk that tries to imply that ADA was justified in his actions when Stanford knows different (in my opinion).

Stanford goes on to state that additional evidence (after the night of the incident) was provided to ADA St. James. Notably, the new evidence came from the alleged victim!

Such evidence came as a result of "inspection the day after the incident showed THEY NEVER ENTER ENTERED THE STORE and that the stolen produce came from the trash area." Such evidence was apparently conveyed to ADA St. James over and over again ("Hieb repeated that assertion again and again in news stories and in comments posted to our Web site).

Such evidence is critical to the substance of the charges against the two defendants and for St. James to simply ignore such evidence is clearly prosecutorial misconduct and an abuse of power. Thus, if ADA believes what he did was right and continues to believe so, such is just more evidence that St. James should be removed from is position as ADA and never given that position or a similar position again.

Thus, in my opinion, once again Stanford appears to state something that is less than honest; yet another "Badge" of dishonesty.

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flyguyrye 8 years, 3 months ago

Thanks for the comment of a kick in the pants. That made me feel a little bit better about the terrible fact missing coverage that led to this wrongful release. What your paper failed to provide was that the men did more than dumpster dive. The investigator on site and police report show this with great clarity. I think what you paper should on the FACT that major crimes such as murder,domestic violence and sexual assaults that do not have blantant perps are going unconvicted even when the victims are sure who did it. Yet any DUI, motor vehicle accident, burglary are getting ridiculous sentances. I also question your motives of the articles written in this case as you are trying to increase traffic to your newly redesigned website.

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jimbo 8 years, 3 months ago

fly...study grammar, sentance structure.... much?

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butterat42 8 years, 3 months ago

Two comments; Scott, don't wimp out on us, I don't think this fix has solved your criminal justice problem.

The DAs, local police representative, fly above seem to have a great deal of trouble with the concept "adding new information." Dres anyone have any idea what the problem is?

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grins 8 years, 3 months ago

  • Fly, It wasn't the"kick in the >seat of the< pants". ,,,It WAS the "slap on the side of >their/your< HEAD!".

+Monty,,, what about your D.V.s (distorted values)?

NUMZ. Where's MINE??? (sure miss'n Outof)

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