Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Cat got your tongue?

Today’s news story regarding the latest twist in the David Munchinski saga raises two interesting questions that everyone should take notice of.

One: Why does continue to fail to name the "prosecutors" whose actions have been chastised by the appeals courts – and whose actions are at the heart of the appeal that sprung Munchinski from death row after 25 years?

Everyone at the paper knows who these two "prosecutors" are. Their names are as integral to any telling of the story as those of Munchinski, the late Leon Scaglione who was also convicted of the murders, and the two men they were sent to prison for allegedly murdering in 1977, James P. Alford and Raymond P. Gierke. You can read the full story here, and see there is no mention of the identify of these "prosecutors" --

Why is so skittish about doing its job, and naming these particular names? All those folks who have called the paper over the years, asking that their names be withheld from stories or crime reports, and have been told that this wasn’t the way business is done, now have reason to ask why the paper is playing favorites.

Editor Mark O’Keefe should be asked to explain why these names, so crucial to the telling of this particular story, continue to be left out of news stories regarding Munchinski. The overturning of Munchinski’s conviction is big stuff – and the reasons for it being overturned are even bigger stuff, because they strike at the heart of the operation of the Fayette County legal system.

The same paper that, in the most recent example that comes to mind, can’t find enough times to mention the names of Beverly Beal, Angela Zimmerlink and Sonya Over in a politically motivated flap over a folder left at a restaurant – a case in which no criminal charges have been filed, and probably never will – can’t find the courage to apply the same standard to the key players in the Munchinski prosecution?

Two: For all those who are wringing their hands over the cost of lawsuits filed in Fayette County, how much money do you think Munchinski is going to end up with? If the attorney general declines to retry him, or it does and he prevails, does anyone doubt for a second that he won’t sue the county for, among other things, wrongful prosecution? How many millions might he get for being locked up for 25 years?

We see nothing that any county solicitor – including Ken Burkely, who is currently immersed in developing an anti-litigation strategy – can do to prevent that case from hitting the county. If you think the county liability insurance premium is high today, you need to be reminded of the famous words of Bachman-Turner Overdrive:

"B-B-B-Baby, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet!"