Letters and comments for September 27, 2011

By Observer Upload September 27, 2011 08:47 pm
Letters and comments for September 27, 2011

Continue to investigate

To the Editor:

This letter is a response to Elgin Municipal Judge Martin Birnbaum and retired Circuit Judge Judge Eric Valentine’s letters to The Observer criticizing newspaper reports of Richard Shafer’s shooting by Officer Kilpatrick.

Birnbaum called one report a “disservice.’’ Valentine said another report “exploited feelings,’’ and that the testimony of Shafer’s wife and son, the other witnesses to the shooting, were “at best inaccurate and at worst, defamatory.’’ This statement was, in itself, at best unworthy of a former judge and at worst, shameful.

Their conclusions the newspaper’s reports were a disservice and exploited the community were wrong. The Observer correctly published an interview with Shafer’s wife. This report put citizens of Elgin at ease knowing the facts of the case were being made public and justice would ultimately be served.

A grand jury determines neither guilt nor innocence. Instead, it determines whether evidence justifies an indictment for trial. Since only one party controls testimony some facts may be overlooked or ignored and not placed into evidence. All courts require testimony to be the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Motive and opportunity are other key elements for grand jury consideration. Evidence in this case may have been truthful, but District Attorney Thompson failed in his duties to present the whole truth, some of which could establish motive for this shooting. Stated facts certainly showed opportunity.

The Observer should continue to investigate for other evidence omitted from grand jury testimony. Such an investigation may remind our governmental officials a newspaper is not merely a messenger for government, but more importantly, it’s the voice of the people.

The Observer deserves praise for a job well done. Please, continue informing the public with your investigative reporting.

Jack Hoover

Elgin