February 23, 2012 | Vol. 39, No. 8

Editorial

Meeting had value

While we understand the reasons many feel the Town Hall Meeting with Deputy Attorney General Richard Svobodny was not productive, the meeting did benefit Petersburg.

Face-to-face meetings are good for all parties. It’s easier to deal with people you know and with those who know you. It is pretty evident that folks attending the meeting will be calling Mr. Svobodny in the not too distant future.

Frankly, there seems to be undisclosed reasons why Juneau D.A. David Brower has sidestepped any efforts to improve communications with Police Chief Jim Agner. Whether that relationship can be salvaged is largely up to those two individuals.

In the meantime, Tuesday’s meeting should put the D.A. on notice that people are now aware of a long menu of actual and perceived miscarriages of justice that were discussed there, and thus, more eyes will be watching for improvements in not only personal relationships, but also in how future cases are handled.

That can do nothing but benefit Petersburg citizens.

Speakers brought up solid reasons why many cases cannot be plea-bargained and the hurtful effects it has on victims of violence and crimes.

Petersburg needs to clearly establish what our community standards are for those convicted of DUIs, furnishing alcohol to minors, underage drinking, domestic violence, drug use and drug distribution/sales. Then we have to let the court, prosecutor and defense attorneys know what is expected of them.

Finally, we appreciate the comments of Superior Court Judge William Carey who spoke to the importance of having the district attorney present in court. Carey said, “It helps move cases along, it helps with judicial efficiency…and it helps build trust in the community.”

Those who don’t feel justice was served as a result of Tuesday’s meeting are the very persons who need to become involved in observing how cases are disposed of, both inside and outside of the Petersburg courthouse.

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