Poor joke on justice | VailDaily.com

Poor joke on justice

Don Rogers

Buckley, who runs a home computer business, was accused of spamming Vail.Net’s servers and knocking the Internet service provider off line. Nearly 20,000 bogus e-mails over three days affected service for Vail.Net’s 7,600 customers, authorities said.

Investigators pointed to Buckley as the culprit and in October 2001, FBI agents and Eagle County sheriff’s deputies seized 12 computers from his home in Wildridge.

He was charged with three felony computer crime/transmittal of computer virus crimes, whose penalties range from fines of $2,000 to $500,000 and prison sentences ranging from two to six years. Sounds pretty serious.

But then, wouldn’t you know, the case sat for over a year before the charges were dismissed over a paperwork error committed back when the charges were filed. Oops. In the meantime, the district attorney got a new job with the Colorado Attorney General’s Office, and the lead Sheriff’s Office investigator on the case left his job. In other words, the Keystone cops and prosecutors were at it again in Eagle County.

For the sake of truth – not to mention the accused – shouldn’t the authorities pay just a little bit of attention to what they are doing before they trot out charges in high-profile cases that they know cannot help but be reported widely and prominently?

This is reaching a point of absurdity. As a newspaper, we have to consider that the DA’s Office and police have so little credibility in bringing charges that coverage may well not be merited until it can be determined these folks can handle simple paperwork, never mind make a believable case when the profile is higher than your slam-dunk drunken driver who already has admitted his or her guilt.

Buckley follows the Bruce Gillie supposed computer porn case, which follows the Louis Medeiros supposed auto theft case, which all were dismissed and still carried a heavy social and economic cost to the accused. And guess what, they are innocent in our system of justice, though their reputations certainly were tainted, and justice most definitely was not served for anyone.

Oh, but wait. There’s a caveat in the Buckley case. Charges might be refiled. Sigh. This is where the authorities don’t ever have to say they’re sorry. We heard that bit of BS with the Medeiros case. The DA closed the “case,” and police kept squawking about this or that state agency taking up the investigation. Predictably, nothing came out of any of it, other than Medeiros going broke and leaving town. Justice? Hardly.

At least we’re not hearing similar talk following the dismissal of Gillie’s case. Shall we count that as progress?


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