Tonight during our analysis of Jefferson County Prosecutor Jane Hanlin’s handling of the the of the gang rape reported on August 14th 2012, we offered examples of past issues where her ability to be fair and objective in exercising her legal resources and authority have been called into question. This was not to harm her reputation but rather to show that the pre-existing damage or questions regarding it and her integrity go far beyond this case. We felt that this was important because by bringing to bear a history of questionable actions when it came to serving personal interests over the interests of her position and the laws she agreed too see enforced, its is easy to see how many would question whether or not due diligence was done to collect all the information and to insure that no evidence was compromised, is not so unreasonable, despite claims to the contrary.
We discussed her decision to testify on behalf of Bronco Busick. Bronco was accused, tried and convicted following TWO robberies. As in robbing TWO VICTIMS on TWO SEPARATE occasions and BEATING them BOTH. One victim was at gunpoint and that gun was used as a bludgeoning instrument to injure one of his victims.
Hanlin agreed to come and testify on behalf of this felon as part of an appeal to the court that his sentence be mitigated. According to Hanlin, in light of a history of good character as a childhood friend of her son and a firm belief that this was simply a mistake in judgement, BOTH TIMES, that it would surely never happen again and that her belief in his character remain undiminished. Many were confused, frustrated and some downright angry by Hanlin’s willingness to offer this testimony despite the fact that her very office as a prosecutor demands that she see such people receive accountability for such violent crimes not avoid it. She’s expected to be a representative of Lady Justice who wears a blindfold, holds a sword and a scale as a poignant metaphor for the statement that our judicial system is founded on a principle that justice is best served when blind to everything save for the facts of the case at hand and weigh the evidence accordingly and render judgment accordingly and without bias. Many feel she has betrayed that office by stepping up to the stand to do the exact opposite. Regardless of the fact that our legal system is designed in such a way to allow for personal appeals to be made and weighed in determining judgment, when it comes to a prosecutor, I don’t believe I am alone in the firm belief that such luxuries are not hers to exercise. Her first duty is to prosecute and protect society from such offenders, not decide whose going to offend again and who wont. That is not only beyond the scope of her authority but far beyond her education and expertise.
She seemed to insist that her participation in this sentencing hearing was in no way threatening to the integrity of her position as a county prosecutor. She seemed to try and convince the community and especially those who criticized her decision that she testified only as a mother and friend and assure that her role as a prosecutor had no bearing on this case or outcome, nor would it. The very assurance she seems to be trying to offer in regards to this current gang rape case. She sometimes seems to portray a sense of befuddlement or confusion as to why people are so upset at her decision to testify or when discussing criticisms about her initial responses to the rape report and her involvement in the subsequent gang rape investigation. It is as if she wants people to see her as a good and moral upright person who is being victimized by distant rumormongers or local community ingrates or other’s mere legal ignorance when criticized or her actions questioned.
Some have seem to come to her defense to help build that image. Some of these people are individuals whose careers and callings demand that they demonstrate acumen, objectivity and under wavering pursuit of the truth. I discussed Frank Bruzzese and his written statement and ill leave it at that for now, but rest assured we are far from done in investigating and discussing his role in the community and quite possibly their frustration and anger.
Sheriff Fred Abdalla called into our show weeks ago offering such defense and even though she had already recused herself, made a demand that her office be called with any more information regarding this case and that some people who are making claims regarding evidence but not turning it over may be subjecting themselves to legal consequences via the grand jury. I was grateful that he called in and respected his willingness to come on the air and answer some questions. However, Many people felt that he had just called in to protect a friend and to make a passive aggressive effort to intimidate listeners from speaking publicly about this case.
In fairness to everyone and in the interest of due diligence, I did in fact reach out to Sheriff Abdalla sometime later and shared this perception with him that was communicated to me from listeners and he assured me that that was by no means his intent and that his statements were simply an exhortation to people who may have information regarding this crime to report it to the office in general and not an attempt to undermine Jane Hanlin’s recusal and that his warnings regarding grand jury indictment were to those who claim to have evidence but then not share it with the proper authorities and possibly risk undermining the investigation.
It is quite possible that this is exactly what he meant. The explanation and rationale does make sense. Ultimately, it is not for me, however, to decide whether or not he was lying to me about his intentions but felt it was only fair that his views be represented and his response to such serious accusations regarding his statements made on our show. His defense does hold some merit but it also does raise new questions. I’ll leave final judgment to the community. But rest assured we are exploring all angles and questions I continue to encounter regarding this case.
However there is another individual who recently came to her defense who I have difficulty offering any generosity or benefit of the doubt in the belief that this person was anything far from objective and quite clearly betrayed their own calling as a journalistic manager. In an April 23 article titled Time to Accept the Second Chance Challenge, published by The Weirton Daily Times, M. Mathison seems to take the spin to an all-time low. Whereas some may have used the law expertise or experience to build up Jane Hanlon’s credibility and undermine peoples faltering faith in it, Mathieson decides to appeal to faith itself.
His article praises Jane Hanlin’s decision to testify and addresses the questions, concerns and criticisms regarding that decision. He not only tries makes her appear right and heroic for making such a decision to testify despite the potential consequences, he actually attempts to make her appear RIGHTEOUS and HOLY as a result!
By following up his praise and defense of her decision to testify with a quote from Matthew 16:25-26, he seems to liken her willingness to be in the “hot seat”, to the compassion and nobility of Jesus Christ’s willingness to innocently die on the cross to benefit another who was indeed guilty. Biblically erroneous, ridiculous and just plain sick does not begin to cover appropriate descriptions of such a comparison.
As a Christian, educated Bible scholar, and Bible teacher I can give numerous arguments to the many ways in which this text was not only grossly misinterpreted but tragically misapplied. However I will simply give you this one simple statement that should more than cover everything; Jane Hanlin DID NOT sacrifice that which belonged to her to bless THE MANY whom she did not even know. No, by using her position as a prosecutor to appeal for mitigated accountability she sacrificed the power, authority and trust that DID NOT belong to her to benefit THE ONE whom she did indeed know.
I have clearly proven how despite her defenses to the contrary she did in fact not only used the weight of her position as a prosecutor but also that of her husband, a narcotics detective to make sure that a family friend receive mere probation for MULTIPLE CRIMES that would’ve landed others in prison for years, and rightfully so. What’s worse it that I have no doubt that she herself has prosecuted others and appealed for far more severe punishment for far less serious crimes.
I read her own words on the air to prove that point. Now as promised, I am posting that transcript here. I am posting the entire document to help assure that full disclosure is being made and to preempt any effort or attempt to claim that words were taken out of context or portions edited in a way to wrongfully misrepresent HER OWN actions and HER OWN words. And now I leave it to you to exercise YOUR OWN judgment to decide whether or not she truly had made a poor decision and caused damage to her own reputation and integrity all on HER OWN.