Wednesday, November 21, 2007

"There’s a story behind the story..."

In this week's Town Dandy, Hank's coverage of the recent events in Ferndale ends with this...

...Chief Lonnie Lawson is set to retire in the coming weeks. When he was first hired, we ran a small story about a clever piece of policework he had done immediately after taking the job (“Ferndale Chief Finds His Man,” Jan. 13, 2005). But a year ago he erased whatever goodwill he had developed with the community by arresting and harassing an innocent father on trumped-up child endangerment charges, when it was clear to everyone that the man was guilty only of failing to “bow and scrape” to Lawson’s petty tyranny. A jury cleared the man of all wrongdoing after 10 minutes of deliberation.

The case seems to have been the rule, not the exception. On that note, the man leaves office. And whatever bad press the good people of Ferndale have suffered with this latest incident, the town can at least consider itself blessed that it will soon be rid of the biggest blotch on its reputation, this cruel parody of a public servant....

But, Hank, you left out a really important piece - Lawson's charges against Sean Marsh would have (and should have) gone nowhere. It was a case of two men butting heads, and while I agree with you that Lawson't actions were unforgivable, it is what happened NEXT that really screwed Marsh. When Gallegos inexplicably pulled the file out of the dumpster and threw the full weight of the law against Marsh. You can't blame Lawson for the trial, the blame for that lies squarely with Paul Gallegos, and it is another example of the schizophrenic prosecution he practices. A case that never should have gone to trial ended in minutes because the jury saw immediately what Gallegos could not.

That's worthy of a correction or addendum.

Think about it -

Those who had the full weight of the law thrown against them....
Penny O'Gara
John Biord
Sean Marsh

And those who didn't...
Pedro Martinez-Hernandez
The Whitethorn rapists/Garza
Derek Bowman

That's the short list...


  1. Those that didn't tend to be friends or associates of PVG or a couple of local slimey lawyers.

    But Rose this is old news. PVG does this all the time, and by that I mean abuses his office.

    As to Lawson, the Town Dandy is pretty much on the mark.

  2. Agreed, pretty much.

    As to PVG - is it old news? Or has it yet MADE the news?

  3. Are you saying John Biord shouldn't have been prosecuted? There was a whole lot of missing money there. A whole lot.

  4. Not exactly. But he was behind on his bed taxes, not exactly a hardened criminal.

    It's who gets let off, and gets let off easy that makes no sense, in case after case after case...

    What I was saying, though, was that blaming Lawson for Marsh's persecution is only part of the story.

  5. For those that didn't it's a very short list.

    Another possiblity; PVG knew it was a bad arrest but filed it anyway, then pushed prosecution knowing (or believing) Marsh would be found not guilty and a cop, a chief of police, would look bad / be discredited. Who knows but PVG screwed up and that is for certain.

  6. You're never "behind on your bed taxes." You collect them at the time of payment, and they never belong to you.

    Being prosecuted is certainly part of Marsh's story, but I wasn't telling Marsh's story. I was telling Lawson's.

  7. Happy Thanksgiving, Hank.

  8. Hank's the only one who can do the Vilica story, is it in the works? Schekman was on your cover wasn't he?


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