Contrary to your description of the group as "not overly smart," the panel included business owners, a company president and several other accomplished community members who would not have gotten where they are without intelligence and the ability to reason at a high level.
My own opinion is that Hassan Adams very well may have been over the legal limit when he was pulled over. The jury did not find Mr. Adams innocent; we found him not guilty.
In this trial, we were given very specific instructions about how to use the information and evidence that were presented to us. The defense witness, Marc Stottman, presented a lot of information that was discounted by the group right off the bat. But there was also information presented that created doubt--reasonable doubt as defined by the very specific, legal instructions we were given.
What did the state do to refute what Mr. Stottman told us? Practically nothing, and here is where I think your complaint should lie: The prosecuting attorney did not present a witness of his own to call into question what Stottman said. He barely cross-examined Stottman. In the absence of something that would have removed the reasonable doubt that Stottman created, we had absolutely no choice but to reach a not guilty verdict.
You have my condolences on the deaths of your sister-in-law and her husband. I can't imagine what it would be like to lose someone to a drunk driver. But rather than libel a group of hard-working, honest individuals who were committed to following the letter of the law, I suggest you turn your attention to the lackadaisical way in which these cases are sometimes prosecuted. Thank you for reading my response.
But Danehy's bias--no matter how understandable and even appropriate--should have come much higher in the column. There are two ways to talk about a test result potentially being "20 percent or 50 percent" off. He chose the least logical of the two. He started with where the 20 percent or 50 percent error would end up. The more correct way is to adjust the actual test result by the 20 percent or 50 percent margin of error. Done that way, any juror could have reasonable doubt, because the test might have been from as low as .062--below the legal limit--to .096, which is just above it.
I have tremendous respect for the quality of justice they bring to the legal system. I don't want justice left completely in the hands of judges and lawyers. Danehy's belittling of jurors is both untrue and unfair.
Michael J. Meehan
I am not sure what this proves, except that it is always best to question what you are told.
I am especially appreciative of your having pointed out that Matthew Salls was not a person of particular notability, that he was a member of a fairly standard population--not an outlier on either tail of the human-being bell curve. He was everyman, and as a result of his untimely death and the indifference shown by his killer, every man is the less.
The truth about 204 is that many animal advocates wouldn't help gather signatures, and some wouldn't even sign the petition, because of the concern that after it passed, people would get the false impression that their meat was raised humanely. Anyone who looked at the wording and saw how modest 204 was knows we weren't solving the whole problem. But then again, a lot of people don't read, and most of us believe what we want to believe.
While gathering signatures, we were repeatedly asked why we didn't include battery hens. In order to produce eggs cheaply and maximize profits, hens are stuffed into cages so tightly that not once can one hen stretch out even one wing. To prevent damage from the pecking that such a stressful life creates, much of their bills are cut off. We knew it would be a tough fight. We didn't know that our opposition would claim that 4-H Club members could be charged with a crime or that their dupes in the media would gladly repeat their nonsense. (KOLD Channel 13 aired a statement that if 204 passed, pregnant pigs would roll over and crush their piglets. How's that possible?) In other words, it was a political decision.
Pima County Coordinator, Arizonans for Humane Farms
I covered many of the same events they did when I was an Arizona Daily Star sports staffer. Corky and Dan went about their work with passion and professionalism. They were good guys to talk to and joke with, even though we were competitors. Corky was always the perfect gentleman, and Dan was the same in person as he was on air: bursting with likable energy. Best wishes to both.