The GUARDIAN finds it disturbing that Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has been communicating with the Coroner behind the scenes over a case involving one of Bieter’s cops.
We agree the on-again-off-again-on-again inquest and surrounding publicity in the midst of a city election is a bungling effort at best. However, the mayor is out of line talking to the Coroner about the inquest into the police officer shooting death of 16-year-old Matthew Jones.
The Coroner sits as judge during an inquest, complete with black robe. Bieter would–or should–know better than to talk to a judge about a pending case. The same is true in the matter of an inquest which is conducted as a “judicial proceeding.” If we as citizens tolerate elected officials attempting to influence the decision to hold or cancel a pending legal proceeding, our system becomes tainted.
If Bieter had asked his City Attorney to file a motion to cancel the hearing, we would see nothing wrong–that is why we have attorneys and courts.
The mainstream media folks seem to have missed the point of the Mayor trying to influence the Coroner to just call off the inquest in favor of the report of the City ombudsman.
Bieter is well intended. He claims to have the support of the Jones family in his plea to drop the inquest. The Coroner has wisely ignored the improper request of the Mayor and set the case for later this month. We can all hope the proceeding offers more answers than questions.
Meanwhile public officials and candidates with their own interests should refrain from injecting their voices into the case. Frankly, at this point we would feel much better if the inquest were conducted by people who have not been talking it over amongst themselves for weeks if not months.
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